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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Fiat 500 and Abarth Drag Coefficients


Fiat 500 Side View

The Fiat 500 is surprisingly aerodynamic. Through careful design and the use of the wind tunnel, the European  Fiat 500 achieved a 0.325 coefficient of drag. That's better than a bunch of slinky sports cars like the Ferrari F40, F50, Testarossa and 360, the Corvette Z06, and Dodge Viper GTS.* This is even more remarkable because the 500 is a relatively tall and stubby car compared to the more common teardrop shape given to low drag cars.

Fiat 500 and Abarth Drag Coefficients

Fiat 500 Drag Coefficient (Cd):

  • 500e - 0.311
  • 500 Pop — 0.332
  • 500 Sport — 0.362
  • 500 Lounge — 0.359
  • 500c Pop and Lounge — 0.364
  • 500 Turbo — 0.362
  • European 500 - 0.325

Fiat 500 Abarth

Fiat 500 Abarth Drag Coefficient (Cd):

  • 500 Abarth: 0.352 — with 16-in. wheels
  • 500 Abarth: 0.365 — with 17-in. wheels
  • 500c Abarth: 0.352 — with 16-in. wheels
  • 500c Abarth: 0.365 — with 17-in. wheels

The Fiat 500e is the most aerodynamic 500 (0.311). This results from an additional 140 hours of wind tunnel refinement given to the all-electric 500e to reduce noise and increase driving range. Electric cars run relatively silently, so wind noise is more noticeable, and its reduction is a priority. 

The main areas Fiat engineers concentrated on were:
  • Front fascia sealing
  • Aerodynamically optimized front fascia design
  • Flush profile 15 inch aluminum wheels
  • Streamlined exterior mirror caps
  • Under vehicle belly pans
  • Refined side sills
  • Drag reducing rear fascia design
  • Optimizing the liftgate mounted spoiler
One of the Fiat designers told me that he spent a lot of time crunched up in the trunk of the 500e during wind tunnel test adjusting the rear fascia to achieve the best results!

Fiat 500e Side View Mirror Cap

. An example of how a little change can make a difference. The mirror caps on the Fiat 500e are unique. Notice the sharp edge molded in and compare that with the mirror cap of the standard Fiat 500 shown below. This subtle change improves the aerodynamics and also wind noise. Details like this add up to a 13 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag 0.311 Cd compared to a 500 Lounge model's 0.359 Cd. 

Fiat 500 Side View Mirror Cap

You can see more of the Fiat 500e aerodynamic details here in the article linked below:

Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio

You will notice Abarths are not the most aerodynamic efficient models. This is because priority on those cars was given to increase high-speed downforce and extra cooling flow for the twin-intercooled, turbocharged engine. Wider tires, essential for high-performance driving, also increase drag.

Fiat 500 Abarth Spoiler

So the next time someone mentions your car is as aerodynamic as a phonebooth or brick, you now have the facts!

Read more:

* Some well known cars the Fiat 500 beats aerodynamically:
1987 Ferrari F40: 0.34
2004 Ferrari F430 F1: 0.34
1996 Ferrari F50: 0.372
1986 Ferrari Testarossa: 0.36
1999 Ferrari 360 Modena: 0.34
2006-13 Corvette Z06: 0.34
1996 Dodge Viper GTS:  0.35
2004 Aston Martin Vanquish: 0.35
2006 BMW Z4 M coupe: 0.35
1989 Mazda Miata: 0.38
1974 Lamborghini Countach: 0.42

Source: Wikipedia, FCA
Images: FCA and Author

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