We never object to making cars lighter, so when Audi’s global marketing chief Peter Schwarzenbauer told us that every new-generation Audi in the foreseeable future will be lighter than the model it replaces, our ears perked up. Schwarzenbauer went on to say that the next Q7 SUV will lose 350 kilograms, or just over 770 pounds. That is nothing at which to sneeze.

Our long-term Q7 TDI, for example, weighs 5687 pounds, so dropping 770 of them would mean a 14-percent reduction. VW’s Touareg, one of the Q7′s two-row siblings, went on a diet for its second generation, losing about 400 pounds. That was accomplished mostly by abandoning the previous gen’s low-range transfer case, something the Q7 never had in the first place. Lessons learned with the A6 and A7, which are 20 percent aluminum, will transfer to the Q7 and other new Audis; the Q7 already uses a good amount of aluminum in its suspension components. The job won’t be particularly easy or cheap, but it’s going to be necessary in order to meet future fuel-economy targets.

Of course, weight reduction like this can’t continue forever—massless cars, anyone?—but it’s good to know that at least the next generation of Audi’s lineup will be lighter than today’s.

By David Gluckman