Aerodynamic effiency is something automakers have been chasing for decades. Sculpting an aerodynamic shape is a work of art, which fuses form and function (most of the times). Aerodynamic drag is a vital part of car design (read my article on its importance here ) and so, engineers and designers put loads of effort on mitigating these forces. As technology advances and new tools emerge, some rather bonkers solution come up, so here are the 10 sleekiest production cars (measured by Drag Coefficient (Cd))
10th place: Mercedes S-Class W222
The latest version of Mercedes’ flagship luxury car is absolutely sleek. With a Cd of 0.24, it fuses its beautiful shape with absurd aero efficiency. It is one of the features which makes its S500 hybrid version do an absurd 3L/100km, putting 436hp down, it has surely got some punch with a 0-100 time of 5.2 seconds.
9th place: Mercedes C-Class W205
Another Merc on this list, it shares many innovations from its bigger brother (ahem,near identical design), including its aerodynamics. No wonder why the C63 AMG is an absolute weapon, with a 0.24 Cd, it has monstrous performance with a 0-100 time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of about 300km/h.
8th place: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Somewhat of a surprise, this Korean contender has the same Cd of 0.24. It helps it to get some very good 5.7L/100 km and a very good alternative in the hybrid car market. Moreover, its looks are relatively attractive.
7th place: Tesla Model S
This revolutionary EV has reshaped how the world sees electri vehicles. All of a sudden, EVs became much more attractive to the general public. This was especially aided by the outstanding range of the model S, as the higher-spec model, the P90D, has a range of over 270 miles, not to mention the “Ludicrous mode”, which allows for an absurd 2.8 seconds time on the 0-100. Aero plays a huge role in this, as for the Cd value for the Model S is of just 0.24.
6th place: Toyota Prius
I’ve said it once and will keep saying it: no matter how you criticize the Prius, it is a heck of an engineering job. Proof is its super sleek design and a Kammback design, which helps it to have a 0.24 Cd value in its latest design. The same as the Teslas. Please, display some more respect for its cleverness.
5th place: Tesla Model X
The SUV brother of the Model S is another aero efficency champion. Another one with a Cd of 0.24, the car most known for its ultra futuristic looks (and falcon wings!) is a very capable ride, equipped with the same “Ludicrous mode” for warp-speed fast 3.2 seconds in the 0-100 sprint and up to 257 miles of range.
4th place: Tatra 77A
A pioneer in the study of prouction car aerodynamics, the Czechoslovakian Tatra 77A is the very first aerodynamically efficient car ever made. And it excelled, with a Cd of 0.212 (there is a dispute claiming this was the value obtained for a 1:5 scale model, but this doesn’t say much). A car that was ages ahead of its time and with only 249 produced, it is a true aero legend.
3rd place: Tesla model 3
The latest overly-hyped car, the baby Tesla is another beast when it comes to low-drag aerodynamics, with a Cd of 0.21 and an unconventional grill-less design it is able to have Model S-like range, but with less powerful batteries. The most affordable version is allegedly capable of doing 215 miles on a single charge. Not bad at all.
2nd place: GM EV1
One of the most controversial cars ever made, the EV1 had a very advanced aerodynamic design, which was good for a 0.195 drag coefficient. Combined with loads of new technologies, such as keyless unlocking and start, abs brakes and an all-Aluminum body frame. It is such a shame GM resolved to just lease all EV1s and then crush the majority of them, as the program was deemed unprofitable, making it one of the rarest 1990’s cars.
1st place: Volkswagen XL1
As Veedub wanted to prove the world it could make the most fuel-efficient production car, it came up with the one litre concept, which was capable of a mind boggling 1L/100 km from its hybrid 0.8 litre TDI (cough cough dieselgate) twin cylinder engine. It enjoyed such a positive reception that it was later turned into the XL1 production version, limited to 250 units. To achieve these numbers, VW spent much time on CFD and in the wind tunnel to make the XL1 have a 0.189 Cd.
This is it! What do you think? Aero efficiency or brute power? Leave your opinions in the coments below!