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2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe - Click above for a hi-res gallery

In a previous post from AutoblogGreen's Greenlings series, we took a brief look at how and why aerodynamics play a significant role in a vehicle's overall efficiency. To put in plainly, the easier a car is to push through the wind, the better its fuel efficiency is likely to be. Mercedes-Benz has made great strides in overall vehicle aerodynamics with its new 2010 E-Class Coupe, which boasts an impressive .24 coefficient of drag. According to that car's project manager Rainer Tiefenbacher, the best is yet to come:
"There is still plenty more to come as we explore ways of improving fuel efficiency. Designers are still learning about what works aerodynamically and are having to consider it more and more when they think about how a car will look. There are big steps to be made, especially around and under the engine hood."
Just how low could they go? Very low indeed, it would seem – the German automaker believes it will be selling cars with a Cd of less than .20 in just five years.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      So UGLY
        • 6 Years Ago
        I know dude... we all feel bad for you :'(
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. That's an ambitious target; good luck M-B!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "it's not the frontal area that's multiplied
      it's the cross-sectional area if you look at the car head-on"

      The cross-sectional area if you look at the car head-on IS the frontal area.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh goody. We're going to be getting a Mercedes that looks like a Prius/Insight.

      Joy unbounded.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The aerodynamic drag becomes a the majority of the total drag on the vehicle at a relatively low speed ~45mph or so and is still a significant number at lower speeds than that so yes a lower Cd will help highway speeds more but is not insignificant when considering city rates. The biggest aerodynamic areas for improvement would be the underbody and side view mirrors. If you can eliminate the side view mirrors with some type of camera system in the A-pillar you remove a large object causing alot of wake down the side of the car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe they'll go to side view cameras with a heads up display of the image in the front corners of the side windows. Or even lower corners of the windshield. That would be pretty cool
      • 6 Years Ago
      This should be interesting to see what they bring out, but I am betting the cars that are going to be near .20 are not going to have engines in the front. I remember Epcot center in the 80's GM had a car that looked like a small plane that was suppose to get 150 miles per hour. Anyone else remember that car?
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can sure tell where the influence the the Chrysler Sebring came from.

      Brought to to you by a company incompetent of running Chrysler.

      Want a great car in this category, buy a Cadiliac CTS
      Civic LX
      • 6 Years Ago
      the Lexus LS430 came out in 2001 with 0.25 drag. The original LS came out TWENTY years ago and had a drag of 0.29. hmmm. Other automakers are finally catching up?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Civic LX
        You know, if you're going to try to make snarky comments you should make sure that you have a valid point first. The W124 chassis Mercedes E-Class, introduced in 1986, has a Cd of 0.28. Last I checked, 0.28 is lower than 0.29. Who's playing catchup, again?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Civic LX
        You see, the key here is having good aerodynamics AND looking good while doing it...
      • 6 Years Ago
      G37 has a 0.27 drag coefficient

      Toyota is just BS everyone with their Prius trying to deny that it's ugly by blaming aerodynamics adn now the E-class coupe has shown Toyota how to get a lower than Prius coefficinet and how to keep it looking good.

      wish they redesign those teail light though. the only thing I don't like about this car
      the interior is growing on me, it took a few months at looking at it, but I like it now
      • 6 Years Ago
      Their new spear-shaped front end will be great for skewering pedestrians!
      • 6 Years Ago
      That means they will have to minimize frontal area, which is in direct opposition to their current design trend of making tall front ends and European pedestrian safety standards. Good luck.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah you have to multiply Cd by the cross sectional area, the roof and such have to be taken into account, not just the front end. Otherwise you could just have a two story cab on top of a go cart and it not be a big deal for aerodynamics, yeah right.
        • 6 Years Ago
        for patty the irish twit:

        Actually the ideal low drag shape HAS a large front that tapers off at the rear -
        didn't think that comment through much did you...
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's the frontal area that's multiplied.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ elpyrodude

        it's not the frontal area that's multiplied
        it's the cross-sectional area if you look at the car head-on

        so you make the biggest 'rectangle' as you look at it head on, which has nothing to do with the grille

        this just puts Toyota's Prius to shame with teh 0.25 coefficient of drag they have - adn this look about 10000x better. so here is another way Toyota's ideas are challenged and the crap they put out in engineering needs not be followed by anyone. kinda of like Honda did with the ne Insight.

        If you have cash and spend it in the wind tunnel you'll be able to get drag coeficients less than that of the prius and come out with a beautiful desing

        thank god they proved them worn as I was fearing we'd have
        more Prius-UGLY-look-a-likes that I ever want to see
        • 6 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7
        frontal area to cross section area ratio would change the Cd, but it's the cross section area that gets multiplied to Cd. Bigger frontal area = bigger Cd (most likely)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Frontal area is what you call cross-sectional area.


        People call it the projected cross section area or whatever, that's fine.

        But those who get confused and think frontal area has only do do with what's at the front end of the car are on the wrong track. The frontal area is the total area of the car as projected onto a plane directly in front of it in the direction of travel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        While that may be the "easiest" way to minimize drag... I don't think that's what MB meant to say.

        .24 is a really low drag coefficient, yet the car still has a "tall" front end. Aerodynamics are tricky that way, you'd think a Lambo Countach would be aerodynamic... but it really isn't.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not really. Coefficient is independent of swept area.
        If anything a larger swept area would give the aerodynamicist more leeway as to finding the least restrictive way to route the air.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cd is nice, but it affects highway operation most. We already have the technology for increasing highway mpg, Diesel.

      For most people, city mpg dominates due to how harmonic means work (essentially, think of consumption rates), and so the best way to increase overall efficiency (decrease fuel consumption) is to improve city mpg.
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