The newest model of Opel Corsa made its world premiere at the 2019 IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. The sixth generation of the small car from Rüsselsheim not only has more driver assistance systems than most of its rivals, it also has superior aerodynamics.
As with all the other newly developed cars Opel optimised the Corsa’s aerodynamics at the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines in the wind tunnel of Stuttgart University.
As a result, the car is featured with a drag coefficient of only 0.29 – an excellent value for a car of this size – and compared to its predecessor a further reduced frontal area of only 2.13m2, making the new Corsa one of the most aerodynamic cars in its class. Also, the new generation of Opel’s bestseller already meets the future Euro 6d emissions standard.
“Aerodynamics is just one area where Opel is increasing the efficiency of its automobiles”, said managing Director Engineering, Christian Müller. “Advanced petrol and diesel powertrains and state-of-the-art electrification are the other tools we are using to significantly cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. All these technologies are fully embraced by our new Corsa, which will also be available for the first time as the all-electric Corsa-e.”
Perfect aerodynamics are gaining great importance in the automotive industry as well as among customers due to the challenges posed by CO2 reduction. Low drag means that less energy is needed to move the car, which in turn results in reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions.
The engineers of Opel has achieved this leading drag factor of 0.29 Cd by paying attention to every detail that helps improve the aerodynamics of the new Corsa. As an example, the underbody from the engine compartment to the rear axle is covered with flat panelling to improve the underbody airflow.
The new Corsa also features a spoiler at the rear edge of the roof, which improves the airflow and reduces the turbulence that causes drag. It also cuts the aerodynamic lift on the rear axle, which further improves the new Corsa’s straight-line stability, especially at the higher speeds typical of the German autobahn.
Another benefit of the new Corsa is an active shutter which lowers drag and improves fuel efficiency by automatically closing the frontal opening when cooling air is least needed. As of now, this feature was just available in higher segment cars prior to this.
When closed, the shutter system enhances aero performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through the less aero efficient engine compartment.
The opening or the closing of the shutter depends on the temperature and speed of the engine coolant.
The sixth generation of Opel’s bestselling small car is not the first aerodynamically optimised Corsa to make its debut at the IAA. At the 1995 Franfurt show, Opel surprised the industry with an engineering study based on the Corsa for a so-called “three litre car”, i.e. it was designed to return an average fuel compensation of less than 3.5 liters per kilometres.
The Corsa ECO 3 featured, among others, a roof spoiler derived from the GSi, spoilers ahead of the front wheels and flared rocker mouldings in front of the rear wheels. The result of all the streamlining was a particularly low drag coefficient for a small three-door hastchback – only 0.29 Cd. Twenty-four years later a series production car has achieved the same excellent result: the new Opel Corsa.