The i40, Hyundai's response to the Ford Mondeo, will benefit from the energy efficiency technology that's prominently displayed in the carmakerâ€š radical i-Flow Concept at the Geneva Motor Show.
The concept is equipped with an intelligent grille that controls the amount of air cooling for the engine. The model also has regenerative braking, a thermo-electric generator around the catalyst that provides power for ancillary services and an insulated engine that should keep sufficient heat overnight to restart the next morning at 40deg C.
This means that fuel consumption is greatly reduced due to the frictional effect of cold oil. Hyundai anticipates that these technologies will gradually be added to the i40, which will be available with stop-start from launch.
What we can expect is that the key elements of the design -- the hexagonal grille and the two sweeping lines over the front and rear wheels: will be fitted on the i40 that will be launched in the UK in March 2011 in estate form.
Chief designer Thomas Burkle said that the Hyundai's new design language is inspired by the success of South Korean Samsung, which originally was only making electronics, but is now already challenging Sony.
Burkle said that Hyundai is known for making reliable cars but that emotions have to enter the equation. Six months after the launch of the estate, a saloon, which has "coupe rather than hatchback" styling, will follow.
In addition, Hyundai is thinking about selling both cars in Korea, where the demand for cutting-edge European designs is increasing. The final decision will ultimately depend on the balance of European sales and plant capacity.