Outside the Box

German auto engineers look to the boxfish for inspiration.

A quick look at the boxfish, with its bulky, cube-shaped body, doesn't exactly suggest "speed demon." But actually, the boxfish (ostracion cubicus) is surprisingly streamlined and has some serious get-up-and-go — enough so to catch the attention of engineers at Mercedes-Benz. They used the tropical fish as the aerodynamic inspiration for the overall shape of the car company's Bionic Concept vehicle. And according to testing, the engineers may be onto something. With a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.19, the Bionic comes about as close as a car can get to the Cd of 0.06 that a boxfish has, making the vehicle one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars of its size. But don't get your engines too revved up; the people at Mercedes don't have any plans to place the Bionic on the market anytime soon.