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This is an extract from a trade publication called Bodyshop, after reading this you will drive more carefully for fear of mega repair bills.

Particularily front end /bonnet damage and light replacements

www.bodyshopmag.com
Magazine - Features
June 2007
TECH ALERT: AUDI R8

The aluminium bodied Audi R8 has very few castings to save weight

The awesome Audi R8 sports car has a futuristic look and a top speed of 187mph. Here, we examine its construction and highlight some of the requirements in repair.

The new ultra-high performance, aluminium Audi R8 combines the best of classic sports cars with futuristic construction, transmission and suspension technologies, all underpinned by the quattro four-wheel drive system. Mounted directly behind the cockpit of the comparatively lightweight, 1,560kg aluminium body is a high-revving V8 petrol engine. The R8, with a price tag starting from around £76,000, can achieve 0-62 mph in just 4.6 seconds and in the right conditions can achieve a top speed of 187mph.

Without doubt, the Audi R8 is one of the prettiest supercars. A total of 20 cars will be built each day at the Audi facility in Neckarsulm, Germany. Although it won’t be launched until July 2007, already the UK has taken 1,200 deposits; 450 cars are expected in the UK this year and 750 in 2008. There are 48 centres to service the needs of the R8, with five, strategically located, approved Paint & Body Centres for structural body repairs. This number is scheduled to increase as the vehicle parc grows. So what are the repair requirements of this essentially hand-built two-seater supercar?

The R8 features an aluminium Audi Space Frame, with carbon fibre side blades (optional, otherwise plastic) and bolt-on magnesium cross beams on the back. There are very few castings (to save weight); instead there are long extrusions which have internal chambers to help absorb energy in the event of a collision. In repair they would be sectioned and replaced.

Another unique feature is that the roof structure is in one piece with the A-Pillar attached. If it was damaged the whole structure would be replaced and bonded in place. Because of the speed and structure of the car, bonding and curing requirements are very precise. The correct procedure, conditions, materials and curing times are critical to a safe repair.

There are three latches in the front bonnet for added safety. Bonnet realignment after it has been re-painted or replaced is crucial. Because of the air pressure force caused by the design of the car, the replacement of the bonnet or the removal and refit (for a painting operation) needs to be done to the exact manufacturer tolerances because of the importance it plays in terms of the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

Ventilation
There are numerous ventilation points to ensure sufficient cooling of the engine and components. The side blades are designed to suck in air and cool the engine in the back. Huge air vents at the back serve the same purpose. The underside of the car is completely flat as in Formula 1 technology and as close to the road as possible to lower the centre of gravity. Underneath, ducts scoop the air back into the engine. At the front are ducts that are designed so that the air flow goes through the wheels to cool the brakes. For this reason the 19 inch, five double spoke, alloy wheels should never be changed, including track days, or else the brakes will overheat.

At the rear, all the lights are heat insulated to protect components from melting. The air vents at the back are a type of ceramic, but the backing grilles are metal, otherwise they would melt.

Even simple tasks like taking off a bumper or removing lights have specific tools and methods. Each component has an exact length of wiring loom. If you put the wire in over one bracket or round another panel incorrectly, it won’t reach. (This is so that not an ounce of weight is added unnecessarily.) Everything has to be perfectly done in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements.

Illumination
The Audi R8 features 210 exterior LED lights and cabin illumination, which include lights to show off the clear glass engine compartment. There are 24 daytime running lamps within its striking looking headlamps, combined with bi-xenon dipped and main beam headlights, and 186 LED brake lights. A 24 filament bulb for the front indicator light is etched with R8. To replace the bulb, it is necessary to remove the headlight. The headlight housing must be cut out at the specified point, and after replacing the bulb, the new cover must be sealed and screwed back on. A repair kit comprising cover, sealing ring and two screws is available for this purpose. It is not possible to replace individual LED lights; if one LED fails the complete LED unit must be replaced.

The sophisticated dampers, fitted as part of the optional Audi magnetic ride system, swap conventional damper fluid for a magnetorheological fluid containing minute magnetic particles. By applying a voltage, the viscosity of the fluid is altered. Depending on the charge, the stiffness of suspension is varied to suit an individual’s driving style. The system constantly monitors road conditions and driving style to improve ride comfort. The rear spoiler automatically extends when a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) is exceeded and retracts at speeds below 35 km/h (22 mph). Care must be taken if repainted around that area as the aperture has a close tolerance and if too much clearcoat or colour is used, the spoiler may not operate.

Most of the build at the factory is manual labour, with robots mainly used to lift components. There are 99 metres of MIG welding, 782 punch rivets and 380 flow free screws. The latter have a unique head on them. In production, the screws spin into the aluminium – no drill holes are required. In repair, the heads are extracted using a special tool and the screws replaced.

The car is basically built in three sections, with the engine laid onto the chassis. The back end bolts off and, because of the intricacy, demands a lot of labour hours to do so. The two cylindrical petrol tanks are built-in first, which means that if you have to do welding or repair work around that area, the engine will need to be removed in order to remove the petrol tanks.
Most of the strength is in the front end of the car, with crash members and beams that all unbolt for light repair. In stage two type repairs, the longitudinal members at the front are separated, cuts are made, sleeved and then continually MIG welded together. If it is quite a substantial replacement, then these will need to be jigged to alignment and then welded in place.

Stage three type repairs, substantial damage, will require the complete front of the vehicle to be replaced. It is available from the factory as one huge unit. In addition, it will require a few other panels to be replaced. For example, because there are four chassis legs, two of the legs in the middle will need to be welded to the bulkhead. Similarly, the rear end is available in one large replacement unit, but will be beyond the repair capability of repairers without the expertise, training and equipment.
 

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Any exceptional repair costs would be reflected in the price for collision insurance coverage.
Anyone get a quotes yet?:eek:
 

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Any exceptional repair costs would be reflected in the price for collision insurance coverage.
Anyone get a quotes yet?:eek:
My insurance will cost me (all risks) 2300 euros per year.
 

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As a point of reference since there are SO many variables used to determine insurance costs, what do you pay for the S4? (assuming equal coverage)
I think half of it :) But I'm not sure. Have to look that up.
 
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