With every new model a manufacturer releases there is always a bit about how the new production process has allowed a weight saving of x amount over the previous generation. Yet when you compare the kerb weight of cars over the decades it is clear that today’s models are significantly porkier than their forebears.
How can this be? Surely the light-weight carbon fibre and aluminium body panels and cutting-edge steel composites should be turning modern cars into featherweight four-wheeled kites? Well, the original Volkswagen Golf GTI weighed well under a ton, the latest variant is almost 50% heavier.
The new car may be leagues ahead in refinement and a fair bit quicker but how can it weigh so much more when all we hear is how much lighter the components in each generation are becoming.
The truth lies under a few layers of marketing jargon. The weight-savings manufacturers want us to focus on, avoid the unavoidable fact that the single kilogram saved with the new aluminium suspension is far outweighed by the extra ten kilos added by the fancy sound system and additional sound-deadening.
Market pressures and safety regulations are partly to blame but there are still some auto manufacturers out there that have bucked the trend and have introduced truly light-weight cars that still meet the requirements and stipulations of the current automotive market.