BMW recently revealed one of its hidden carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) treasures to the world. The carmaker showcased a prototype of the first generation X5 SUV that uses a CFRP body, offering a massive 200 kg (440 pounds) weight reduction compared to the standard vehicle, as bmwblog reports.
CFRP offers at least the same structural rigidity as steel, while being 50 percent lighter, thus being a perfect material for automotive bodies. The material is also good at dealing with energy during crashes, having a high impact tolerance. In addition to that, it remains stable regardless of the climatic conditions.
Back in 2003, BMW presented a new CFRP development that allowed it to manufacture body parts with relatively low costs and offered a high quality level. Willing to see how the introduction of CFRP would affect a vehicle, the German carmaker built the prototype that you see in the adjacent image.
The car is a BMW X5 4.6is with a unibody made from CFRP, also using the material for the hood, roof and rear hatch. The only body parts that use steel are the doors.
The automotive enthusiasts have known about the special vehicle’s existence for years, but the car has not been revealed until now, only being used for testing purposes.