Mercedes Design Flow: Mercedes Spoilers

By: Kimberly Baker

The design of automobiles has, quite obviously, changed through time. From the early days when Mercedes Benz founder Karl Benz released the very first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine (arguably the very first car in fact) which more or less resembled coaches pulled by horses, to the box-type days of the 70's and 80's and up to the curvaceous bodies of modern automobile, the design element of the automobile was more or less for eye candy. Contrary to popular belief, however, design does more outside the realm of aesthetics. There are in fact, other reasons for a vehicle's specific design, both for safety and performance related.

When the study of aerodynamics was applied to land vehicles, the shape of the automobile was transformed in accordance to the principles of forces affecting the movement of the object. Unlike normal aerodynamics that is applied to aircrafts, automotive aerodynamics focuses on reducing drag, wind noise, avoiding lift when the vehicle reaches high speeds and in some cases, specifically motorsports applications, producing downward forces to improve traction and handling. This is achieved by having the design provide a smaller surface, especially in the front end of the vehicle, which is quite evident in most modern cars of Mercedes Benz, and other car makes as well.

With the popularity of street racing on an all-time high thanks to exposure by popular media, car owners have opted to "enhance" their rides with parts that increase the speed and power of their vehicles, or additional visuals. The aftermarket industry, the collective of companies that provide these parts, offer internal and external enhancements that are readily available to those who dare to tinker and tweak their car's performance specifications. Automotive aerodynamics comes into play once again as some of the parts offered serve a dual purpose, both for modification of performance and style, a perfect candidate in this case would be car spoilers.

As the name suggests, the part "spoils" unwanted air movement flowing through the vehicle which could cause difficulty in handling the vehicle because of high lift and drag. While this application is common among race and high-performance sports cars, it is quite effective for passenger cars as well. A Mercedes Benz spoiler for example, fitted specifically to the model its partnered with provides better fuel efficiency due to the reduction of drag. Drag, or wind resistance, increases with speed and hampers the vehicle's movement meaning the need for additional power and fuel. This is not to be confused with commercial spoilers that imitate wings that are more or less for decorative purposes. Spoilers are also used for the reduction of lift and increase in downforce which allows for better cornering in race cars. Rear spoilers are most common across all platforms, unlike front spoilers which more or less directs the incoming air flow from the tires to the underbody for lesser drag.

can either be factory default or part of the model, while some can be purchased and installed separately. The purpose may vary from driver to driver, however there's no harm done in installing ones even if the mainly for style points.

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