The Chinese have discovered the trick to car aerodynamics! What might sound like a sensationalist headline is in fact a statement, because for at least a couple of years the Eastern manufacturers seem to be taking the issue of the aerodynamic drag coefficient of cars very seriously. That famous Cx which reached its peak in the rest of the world in the early 1980s is now back in the news with electric cars.
However, what Chinese car manufacturers have been doing in recent years is even more ambitious because, even without officially declaring it, they aspire to dominate this particular ranking of the most aerodynamic cars in the world. What, until recently, was the undisputed reign of pioneering brands in the most refined aerodynamics, such as Mercedes-Benz, Tesla or Volkswagen, is now under siege by new brands such as Aion, Xiaomi or Yangwang.
So let's find out which of these Cx champions are taking the Chinese car industry to the forefront in the use of the wind tunnel and the reduction of aerodynamic drag and therefore fuel consumption.
Let's start with the latest addition that is also the queen of aerodynamics among Chinese cars, the Yangwang U7 introduced in January 2024 that boasts a record Cx of 0.195. With this figure, the Chinese electric maxi saloon manages to beat fierce competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Tesla Model S and NIO ET7, which have a Cd of 0.20 and 0.208 respectively.
Low, rounded shapes, retractable handles and other aerodynamic finesse allow the Yangwang U7, a 5.26-metre saloon from luxury brand BYD, to travel 497 miles (800 kilometres) on the CLTC cycle on a 135.5 kWh battery and four electric motors with a total of 1,305 PS. In China it is priced at one million yuan, about £111,000 at current exchange rates.
Sharing the top step of the podium is the Xiaomi SU7, tied with an identical Cx of 0.195, again a record for production cars. The Chinese smartphone giant's first car is a modern electric saloon just under five metres long with 673 PS. The price has not yet been announced.
CATL's 101 kWh battery provides a claimed range of 497 miles (800 km) on the CLTC type-approval cycle. In this, as in all other cases mentioned here, the value of the coefficient of aerodynamic penetration (Cx) is declared by the manufacturer and not yet verified by independent third-party bodies.
The invasion of new air resistance-defying Chinese electric saloons also includes the Aion Hyper GT, the four-door that boasts a Cx of 0.197. The curious thing is that the front doors open vertically, like some supercars.
Aion Hyper GT
The most powerful version of the GAC Aion super saloon has 340 PS from a single electric motor, an 80 kWh battery and a CLTC range of 441 miles (710 km). This top trim is sold in China at a price equivalent to £37,600.
Does this list of super-stylish Chinese cars seem a bit monotonous? Maybe you're right, because they're all low, rounded saloons that even look a bit similar, but even the Geely Galaxy E8 achieves a better Cx than all European and American cars: 0.199.
Geely Galaxy E8
The arched roof, long bonnet, retractable door handles and aerodynamic wheels help this five-metre saloon get 385 miles (620 km) on the 75.6 kWh battery. We're talking about the 646 PS twin-engine AWD version, which in China costs around £25,400 at current exchange rates.
We close this ranking of new Cx queens with the Luxeed S7, the battery-powered saloon developed by Huawei and Chery that declares a Cx of 0.203. This result is even better than the already impressive result of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 (Cx 0.21).
With its 4.97 metres in length, two motors with a total of 496 PS and an 82 kWh battery in the top-of-the-range Max RS version, the Luxeed S7 covers 391 miles (630 km) on the CLTC cycle. Its price in China is around £38,500.
For comparison, here is a list of the most aerodynamic cars on sale in (some countries) in Europe.
- Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ (Cx 0.20)
- Tesla Model S (Cx 0.208)
- NIO ET7 (Cx 0.208)
- Hyundai Ioniq 6 (Cx 0.21)
- Lucid Air (Cx 0.21)
- Tesla Model 3 (2023) (Cx 0.219)
- Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon (Cx 0.22)
- Porsche Taycan Turbo (Cx 0.22)
- Volkswagen ID.7 (Cx 0.23)