Aerodynamic performance is getting increasingly important for every new vehicle as automakers strive to improve fuel efficiency and reduce noise. That's especially true for hybrid vehicles as manufacturers aim for MPG bragging rights – and it's the main reason the Toyota Prius looks the way it does.
The next hybrid-only model from Toyota is the new CT 200h from Lexus and, while it doesn't feature the overtly low-drag styling of the Prius, it's spent its fair share of time in the wind-tunnel and on the CFD workstation screen. The smooth under-body and thoughtful tweaking of the bodywork around the front and where the air-flow separates has resulted in a drag coefficient of 0.28. The back end of the greenhouse has been carefully tapered and augmented with a spoiler extending back from the roof over the rear glass. Lexus claims that's the lowest figure in the compact luxury class. The production CT 200h will debut at the Paris Motor Show soon and goes on sale next year.
LEXUS CT 200h ACHIEVES AERODYNAMIC EXCELLENCE
- Full hybrid Lexus CT 200h most aerodynamically efficient car in its class, with Cd 0.28 (coefficient of drag)
- Detailed treatment of upper and lower body to achieve smoothest possible airflow
- Aerodynamic quality supports fuel efficiency, ride comfort, handling and high-sped stability
Lexus engineers used extensive computer aided design and wind tunnel testing to ensure every detail of the car's body – including the underneath – contributed to achieving the smoothest possible passage through the air, while retaining distinctive, contemporary styling. Their success is reflected in the lowest coefficient of drag in the small luxury car class – Cd 0.28.
Every aspect of the upper bodywork has been detailed for airflow management. The deep front bumper, sharply sculpted front air dam, optimised bumper corner angles and door mirrors styled like those of the ultra-exclusive LFA supercar, have been designed to smooth the flow of air over the front and down the sides of the vehicle, minimising turbulence in the wheelarches.
The flow of air away from the rear of the CT 200h is carefully controlled by the tapered shape of the cabin sides, a deep roof spoiler, aerodynamic fins at the corners of the rear windows and the sharp, near-vertical junction of the rear wing and bumper.
Equal attention has been paid to underbody airflow management, minimising the vehicle's coefficient of lift to secure optimum fuel efficiency and handling stability.
The aerodynamic underbody elements include a front lower absorber, under covers for the engine, centre floor, tank side and rear floor, front and rear wheelarch spats and rocker mouldings. Diffuser fins have been added to the front under cover, and even the installation of the main exhaust silencer and the shape of the rear bumper cover have been designed to create the smoothest possible airflow.
The production-ready full hybrid Lexus CT 200h – a new gateway model for the Lexus range – will be unveiled at the Paris motor show on 30 September, with UK sales scheduled to start in early 2011.