Chevrolet pioneered the use of fiberglass leaf springs in a production car when it fitted them to the C4 Corvette, but until now, no production car has used coil springs made of fiberglass. That’s about to change.
Working with Italian parts supplier Sogefi, Audi is considering using fiberglass coil springs on some future models reports Road & Track. Why? To save weight of course. The new springs weigh 40% less than the steel springs they replace, and that’s a savings of almost 10 lbs per set of 4 springs. And keep in mind that springs themselves are unsprung weight, so any pounds saved will have a significant impact on suspension behavior as well. Less weight + better handling = most excellent.
Fiberglass, of course, does not rust and is impervious to most chemicals, particularly road salt. Another plus is that fiberglass springs require less energy to manufacture than their steel equivalents. But how much do they cost? Neither Sogefi nor Audi is saying right now, though it seems unlikely they cost less than a simple steel spring.
It’s the latest effort from Audi to add high-tech components to its lineup, including laser headlights and autonomous car functions. Will fiberglass springs eventually become as commonplace and Bluetooth connectivity?