Mercedes showcased an aerodynamic tour-de-force at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show
Step aside Michael Bay because Mercedes doesn’t need computer-generated imagery to make a transformer come to life. Earlier today (Sept. 14, 2015) Mercedes-Benz rolled out a four-door concept that incorporates two modes, design and aerodynamic which fundamentally changes the shape of the vehicle at 50 MPH (or at the press of a button.) With a drag coefficient of .19, this makes the IAA concept one of the sleekest four door vehicles to traverse this earth. Keep in mind that the 2013 VW XL1 still bests this IAA concept by .01 Cd, but you can only fit two people in that one.
Real computing power was behind the shape and final product of this IAA Concept. More than one million CPU hours was used to simulate flow characteristics through the use of numeric flow simulation to come up with this shape shifter that cheats the wind.
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When aerodynamic mode is activated, front flaps in the bumper move up by 25 mm’s and to the rear by 20 mm’s aiding the wind over the wheel arches. The front lip moves 60 mm to the rear, improving airflow underneath the body. The wheels turn from 5 spoke wheels to flat discs thanks to centrifugal force. But the real party trick is a set of eight extension segments made from CFRP which extends outwards by 390 mm. This enables the air to hug the IAA concept more closely and drastically reduces the rear ends aerodynamic foot print making the IAA concept more streamlined.
Apparently good aerodynamics has always been a thing for Mercedes as they frequently reference their record breaking Silver arrows which achieved a drag coefficient of .157 back in the late 1930’s. Additionally they’ve referenced a few other cars but will let you read up on those on the press release.
This efficient design doesn’t come without a bit of propulsion. The IAA concept utilises a plug-in hybrid system with a total power output of 279 HP and a top speed of 155 MPH. The IAA can run on batteries alone for 44 miles.
Unfortunately, this concept is to remain a concept and won’t see production, but you will see technologies pioneered by the IAA to trickle down to other cars in their lineup. We’d love to see this concept in action.