Audi has announced plans to begin using glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) springs.

Set to debut in an "upper mid-size model before the end of the year," the GFRP springs are thicker and larger than conventional steel springs but are about 40 percent lighter. Audi says each spring weighs about 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lb), while a comparable steel spring tips the scale at roughly 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb). This might not sound like much but Audi says the springs will reduce the car's weight by approximately 4.4 kilograms (9.7 lb) and half of that is unsprung mass.

Besides being lightweight, the springs are resilient as they will not corrode and are impervious to chemicals such as wheel cleaners.

According to Audi Technical Development boss Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, “The GFRP springs save weight at a crucial location in the chassis system. We are therefore making driving more precise and enhancing vibrational comfort."

Gallery: Audi to use lightweight glass fiber-reinforced polymer springs

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