Published on June 24th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair
How the Kia Stinger was Shaped with Aerodynamics in Mind
Unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the Stinger made a bold first impression.
In realising the Stinger’s production design – a fastback shape embodying grace, flair and dynamism – Kia’s designers were also guided by the company’s aerodynamics experts. In general, fastback bodies can pose more challenges during aerodynamic optimisation compared to conventional designs. Therefore, close and intense collaboration is required between designers and aerodynamicists to realise the desired shape. Kia’s Frankfurt R&D centre used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to quickly test and validate different ideas to enhance the car’s aerodynamic profile while retaining the fastback silhouette.
After four weeks of collaboration between designers and engineers, subtle design changes were introduced to improve air flow over the car. The bodywork was tapered slightly towards the rear of the car and new ‘gills’ were introduced behind the front wheel arches, each serving to reduce wake turbulence as air passed over the car’s flanks. A partially-flat underfloor cover, flowing into the rear diffuser, was deployed to reduce drag under the car, while the rear spoiler was remodelled with a slight ‘ducktail’ shape, reducing lift and increasing high-speed stability.
At the front, larger horizontal cooling ducts were introduced to optimise brake cooling, and air inlets were shaped to reduce front-end lift. Finally, Kia’s aerodynamicists found that, by reducing the height of the rear of the roof, they could enhance the fastback’s ‘aerofoil’ shape and improve the Stinger’s aerodynamic efficiency at the same time.
Design finalised, the Stinger was ready for its first on-road tests.