Car Terminology 101: Technical Terms for High-Performance Cars

September 19th, 2019 by

Performance vehicles like the Kia Stinger are usually armed to the teeth with parts designed to enhance the motors’ driving ability, but the terms they use to describe them – the splitter, the diffuser, Launch Control, ASD – sound more like rocket science than car talk. If you are tired of faking your way through conversations about muscle cars, buckle up and join us for Kia’s car terminology 101! It’ll take all the mystery out of how these sophisticated parts can make your driving better.

Typically added to the bottom of the front bumper, a car’s splitter ‘splits’ the air flowing under the car. In more technical terms, a car’s splitter is an ‘air guiding device reducing lift when driving at a high speed’. Just imagine how an airplane takes off. The air flows under the wings, the air generates the lift, and the lift eventually flies the airplane. The same thing happens to your car when you drive it at high speeds. The air flows into the narrow space under the car, causes the lift, and can make things unstable. This is where a front splitter comes into play. It redirects the air to reduce lift and increase traction on the road when you’re driving fast, resulting in a more stable and sturdier driving experience on the road.

A car’s diffuser is like a splitter but on the back. The splitter and the diffuser work together: while the car’s splitter is attached to the front, reducing the amount of air flowing underneath the car, the diffuser at the back helps the air underneath make its way out again.

‘Diffusing’ the air towards the road generates downforce – an aerodynamic term that refers to downward vertical thrust – pushing the car down toward the ground and adding more stability to the vehicle. This becomes more critical when you’re driving fast because there is more intense airflow at higher speeds. And that is why a diffuser is one of the highest priorities when designing a race car for circuits.

Launch Control
Although this sounds fit for Apollo 13 or another NASA mission, ‘Launch Control’ in a vehicle assists in generating maximum power when accelerating from a standing start. This electronic aid limits the wheel spin of your vehicle, allowing the car to accelerate more rapidly. After enabling Launch Control, the driver can push the accelerator to the floor and the car will still maintain the highest torque to deliver the engine power to the wheels. In short, Launch Control could also be called a ‘standing start optimization function’. Car racers use this at the circuit to outrun their opponents off the starting line.

Active Sound Design
The roar of an engine is music to driver’s ears, especially so when hitting the open road in a muscle car. But there are noise level regulations to follow and a car, just like a person, has to behave. Active Sound Design, or Electronic Sound Generators, help you overcome these obstacles. Active Sound Design is an audio application that generates the car’s engine sound based on engine parameters including RPM, speed, and torque.

Reprinted from KiaBuzz, Kia Motors Worldwide