For decades, plenty of car makers have obsessed about the coefficient of drag. It was once seen as a powerful message of engineering integrity that could help sell cars – with the likes of Audi even going so far as to equip every 100 to leave the production line with a sticker proclaiming a drag coefficient of 0.30 – even if it was no better than plenty of cars already on the road.
But as Jason Camissa sets out to explain in this episode of Know It All, drag coefficient describes a car’s shape, not its size. Think of it as a voucher code that reduces or increases a car’s effective frontal area, the measure of how big the air sees it.
A low Cd can make a huge difference in a vehicle’s overall aerodynamic drag. A Tesla Model X has 1.6 times the frontal area of a Lotus Elise, and yet its overall drag is lower. To the air, the tiny Lotus is actually a bigger car.
For more colourful, humorous insights on the definition of the coefficient of drag, hit ‘play’ and watch along.