Active aero - gimmick?

Purely out of curiosity, I was wondering about the true effectiveness of the active aero as a genuine performance enhancing feature. I have read that the spoilers are activated at a certain speed and then retracted at a certain speed.

If this is the only way that they are activated then what is the point? The spoilers may as well be manually activated by the driver, with no other intervention from the system… In this sense adjustable aero as apposed to active aero would be just as effective! I’m assuming that the idea is that they only activate at a certain speed because that’s when they are spoilers are effective, at speed. However, if that’s the case then aerodynamically speaking it makes no difference what position they are in at low speed anyway! A simple up/down button would be just as effective as this so called active aero. Surely there is no need for some fancy electronics to determine the position based on speed. It seems like nonsense.

If the active aero was triggered by breaking or lateral g then this would be a completely different story and such a system would seem like a genuinely effective performance feature.

Now, dont get me wrong I love these cars for many different reasons, even if there are a couple of gimmicks here an there. I was just curious about this active aero feature.

Hi, the front aero retracting at lower speeds is useful, not aerodynamically but for traversing speed bumps, parking in shoddy car parks (or event fields), getting up/down driveways, loading it on a trailer etc etc. Once out on the clear decent roads, its effectively lowered. On my already lowered car there’s not much clearance when it kicks in, so its a useful feature.

Be interested to hear other members comments on the science of the rear spoiler, but I like using it to wave to people :slight_smile:

They do make an improved difference to handling , there is a wind tunnel test that shows the effectiveness of the system .

Speaking from my own experience I ran my old car many years ago for a while without the front aero in place , the handling at speed was light whereas when it was refitted it was a lot more sure footed

Craig :grinning:


Check this out, seems to be very effective too:

My mk1 at speed was sure footed and had working aeros,my mk2 being an mr once at treble figure speeds is very very light at the front to the point its scarey


I get what your saying, i always think the same with the modern retracting spoilers etc.

At low speed then it doesn’t matter if its up or down as the only drawback, the drag created, will be negligible due to the low speed.

I’m sure the aero makes a difference at speed but the active part is just a marketing gimmick like you say.

Funny I posted that link about a month ago :joy:

Its actually more functional that just a gimmick. The drag is actually reduced once it is deployed at speed not increased as you would think. The reason for this is that the front air dam channels air away from the underside of the car and more round the sides. And as Mick suggest the front needs to retact at low speed for manouverability issues. As for the rear the reason for it lowering at low speeds is because the air flow will be different. At speeds up to 50mph the air flow will have time to flow down the rear window and horizontally along the boot towards the spoiler. So having the wing lowered means the air flow will hit the leading edge of the wing giving the best downforce to drag ratio, and lower levels of overall downforce where its not really needed or effective. Admittedly at speeds below 50 the effect is far less than at higher speeds but still present and may make a difference to fuel consumption on a long stint through 40mph traffic etc.
At higher speeds the air flow will cascade off the top of the car rather than follow the body lines, this will create an area of low pressure above the rear window creating lift. To counteract this the wing raises for some more downforce gained with a higher angle of attack at the expense of increasing drag. While this increases the drag caused by the rear wing, the front air dam reduces drag by far more meaning an overall decrease.
Hope all this makes sense.

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It did to me Max :joy: :joy: :joy:

Terry :sunglasses:

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