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Geneva show: Hyundai dares to diesel

Future MPV: HED-5 i-Mode previews a future people-mover from Hyundai.

Hyundai delivers a people-mover concept and high-tech new diesel engines at Geneva

11 Mar 2008

HYUNDAI’S Geneva show stand could easily have been dismissed for its lack of excitement, but an interesting new people-mover concept and two new high-tech diesel engines shows it remains determined to attract a bigger following in MPV and diesel-mad Europe.

Dubbed a six-seater people carrier study, the new HED-5 “i-Mode” concept is alleged to “hint at a future MPV production model”, indicating that Hyundai won’t let its South Korean subsidiary Kia have all the people-mover fun forever.

Apart from featuring Hyundai’s new hexagonal-shaped corporate face, the HED-5 presents an advanced seating concept named “Swivel Seat”, which features a front passenger seat that rotates 180 degrees to face the second-row occupants.

1 center imageWhen rotated, the seatback converts into “a comfortable seat surface” via a fully concealed power-operated kinematic system. Hyundai says an integrated seatbelt system and adjustable head restraint maximise passive safety for passengers in both seating positions. All six seats are said to offer first-class comfort and come with Cognac leather cushions and burgundy lacquered seat structures.

On the outside, the i-Mode features extended transparent areas via the use of Makrolon, an “innovative glazing alternative” developed by Bayer MaterialScience. Claimed to reduce weight and therefore fuel consumption, Makrolon is also more adaptable than the glass and metal it replaces.

Hyundai says the HED-5 is the first vehicle to feature the new “BayVision” glazing system and Collimator headlight lenses made from Makrolon, and the show car is also covered in Bayer-developed “self-healing water-based bodywork finishes”, which are said to allow minor scratches to “magically disappear by themselves”.

LG electronics supplied the i-Mode’s overhead console, which features pop-down touch-screen displays upon which users can access the web, play video games, watch movies or make video calls with the aid of wireless keyboards, game controllers and headphones.

More exciting for some, however, was Hyundai’s fitment of its all-new 2.2-litre “R” diesel engine in the i-Mode at Geneva.

The company’s new diesel engine features two-stage turbocharging technology, in which intake air is passed through both low-pressure and then high-pressure turbos. The result is a healthy 158kW of power, a positively beefy 461Nm of torque and a specific output of 70kW per litre, which Hyundai says matches diesels from any leading German maker.

Hyundai says its new dual-stage diesel engine, which meets current and future EU exhaust emissions standards, will hit Europe in the first half of 2011. However, production of a less expensive, single-turbo version of the new R diesel, offering 50 per cent less low-rpm torque, will enter production next year.

Hyundai also used the Geneva show to unveil its facelifted Sonata sedan, including the 110kW/305Nm 2.0 CRDI diesel, which appeared at the Melbourne motor show earlier this month and will spearhead the upgraded Sonata range here from mid-year.

Finally, Hyundai’s green theme continued at Geneva, with the presentation of a range of low-emissions, high-economy concept vehicles based on current models under the i-Blue banner. Hyundai says improved aerodynamics and mechanical efficiencies could reduce Co2 emissions from the i30 1.6 diesel by as much as 15 per cent, to 106g/km.

The i30 CRDi, offering 85kW/255Nm, was launched to widespread applause in Australia late last year and has now gained an automatic transmission option. Both the Sonata 2.0 CRDi manual and the i30 1.6 CRDi auto return average combined fuel consumption of just 6.0L/100km.

The Europe-only i10 city-car is said to realise a 17 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions, to 95g/km. Hyundai says a 0.8-litre turbocharged i10, fuelled by a diet of compressed natural gas, could potentially emit just 65g/km.

All i-Blue models are fitted with 15 to 20mm-lower suspension, a revised ECU, low rolling-resistance Michelin tyres with increased pressures (205/55 R16 on the i30), a gearshift indicator, a six-speed manual transmission with taller upper ratios, 10 per cent better aerodynamics via optimised wheel housings, a rear spoiler, a new front air intake and full underfloor streamlining, reduced drivetrain friction via an optimised cooling system and low-friction oil, and the fitment of a stop-start system from Bosch.

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