ŠKODA’s says its latest models benefit from a range of innovative design features that make them the most aerodynamic cars in their class, with “no stone left unturned” in the hunt for efficiency and reduced drag.
The new fourth-generation FABIA achieves an efficiency of 0.28 (Cd) thanks to numerous enhancements developed over more than 3,000 CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations, fine-tuned by frequent test drives. The result is a car which, despite being larger than its predecessor, has an improved drag coefficient of almost 10 per cent, setting a new benchmark in the small car segment.
With minimising drag being key to improving the range of battery-powered models, ŠKODA designers ensured the new ENYAQ Coupé iV (pictured above), benefitted from as many aerodynamics-enhancing features as possible, achieving a drag coefficient of 0.23.
The streamlined bodywork is aided by an active roller blind shutter, which adjusts the size of the front cooling grille as required, reducing drag. A front apron with uniquely shaped spoilers ahead of the wheels also helps to channel air around the car and, since the wheels alone can account for up to 25 per cent of the total air resistance, aerodynamically optimised alloys counter this effect.
Drag is not only caused by the way a car enters the oncoming airflow, but also by how smoothly it departs it. To that end ENYAQ Coupé iV minimises wake turbulence thanks to an aerodynamically optimised roof profile, specially shaped exterior mirrors and a flat underbody with coordinating rear diffuser.
According to ŠKODA, the image of a speeding bullet cutting through the air may be one of the most evocative notions of a streamlined object, but with a drag coefficient of 0.30, it is significantly less aerodynamic than ENYAQ Coupé iV and FABIA.
While the 1980s wedge-shape of the Ferrari F40 remains one of the most recognisable supercar designs of all time, its drag coefficient of 0.34 is trumped by the KODIAQ’s 0.31.
Thanks to an array of downforce-generating components, a modern Formula 1 car lags even further behind, with a coefficient of just 0.7. Perhaps most surprisingly, ŠKODA said FABIA, ENYAQ Coupé iV and KODIAQ maintain their aero advantage against spacecraft such as NASA’s Mercury-Atlas rocket, which had a drag coefficient of up to 0.55 when travelling at Mach 1.5.
However, there’s still a long way to go before automotive design catches up to nature, with small birds achieving a remarkably low coefficient of just 0.08.