Hyundai planning to offer a sporty version of the i40

Article by Christian A., on February 17, 2012

Hyundai is considering the possibility of building a performance version of the Hyundai i40 as well as a new Hyundai i30 hot hatch, according to Allan Rushforth, Hyundai Europe’s chief operations officer. At the launch of the all-new i30, Rushforth said that Hyundai is forced to act on its quick growth in Europe with models that extend beyond its budget roots.

He said, “A Hyundai GTI? That’s not just a C-segment question [i30], but a D-segment [i40] one as well.” He said that there have been internal talks about such cars and they’re in consideration of versions that don’t only offer more performance but have improved ride and handling too.

He explained that Hyundai needs those cars in its goal to expand to become a “good value, reliable and low CO2 brand.” Recently, Hyundai confirmed that this summer will be the launch of a performance ‘Turbo’ version of its new Veloster coupe in Europe. For the first time, the car will bring turbocharging to its modern 1.6-litre four-cylinder ‘Gamma’ direct-injection petrol engine.

Rushforth said that the company is open to more turbocharging in the future. He said that Hyundai acknowledges the capacity of these turbo engines to cut emissions and boost low-end performance, adding that the company is focused on “high-revving, high stress [normally aspirated] petrol engines.”

Rushforth also said that the firm aims to expand its turbocharged offerings starting in 2013, when the firm is expected to take on a wider roll-out of the dual-clutch transmission technology that was launched in the Veloster recently.

Comfort for the interior of the Hyundai i40 is guaranteed with the 2.77-meter wheelbase that results in a front head room of 1,025 mm, shoulder room at 1,455 mm, and leg room of 1,170 mm, all figures which are the best for its class. This amount of space means that occupants continue to be comfortable despite traveling for a long period.

Indeed, it may be the D-segment ride that offers the most comfort. Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre’s Chief Designer Thomas Bürkle shared that the interior has been developed with the objective of offering both comfort and practicality to the driver and passengers and placed inside a high-quality package. This complements the unique appearance of the model’s exterior, he added.

Talking about the exterior, the i40 sedan is the best example when it comes to the next stage of the brand’s highly distinct design language known as fluidic sculpture. This particular design language is likely familiar to many especially with the use of flowing lines, clearly inspired by nature, that combine to create an exterior that is highly dynamic.

The fluidic sculpture design language was first unveiled with the launch of the Hyundai ix-onic concept car during the Geneva Motor Show in 2009. Since then, it has served as the inspiration for many of the brand’s new models which include the Veloster, ix20, and ix35. Bürkle shared that in order to give the i40 a unique look, the brand utilized strong fluid lines that started from the front going to the rear.

Hyundai, he added, did not want to have the usual three-box sedan but instead wanted one that displayed the i40 wagon and its sporty qualities. Through the elongated yet low roofline, the brand was able to create an i40 sedan with a profile similar to a coupe, he concluded.

To describe the i40 sedan, the words that will quickly come to mind are premium wing and modern flow. Both of which have been derived through Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture principle. With this, the design team wanted a vehicle that would highlight the fluidic volume while having a more sophisticated wing-like feature and a more contemporary feel.

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