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First look: Hyundai shows i45’s twin

Teaser: Hyundai has released this sketch of its forthcoming i40 sedan, which is due to make its world debut at the Barcelona motor show on May 13.

Sedan version of upcoming i40 wagon emerges may join Hyundai i45 sedan here

9 May 2011

HYUNDAI has released a teaser sketch of its new i40 sedan, which may join the i45 sedan and the upcoming i40 wagon on sale in Australia next year.

Due to make its world debut at the Barcelona motor show on May 13, the i40 sedan could see Hyundai mount a twin-pronged mid-size model assault similar to Honda’s dual Accord strategy.

“We are still reviewing the business case for bringing the i40 sedan to Australia,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia marketing director Oliver Mann today. “We are hoping to make a decision later in the year.” As we reported in March, the European-oriented i40 models, which are likely to be positioned upstream of the US-centric i45, would provide the petrol-only i45 sedan range with vital reinforcement in the mainstream mid-size vehicle segment.

The i45 line-up, which has just been joined by a cheaper 2.0-litre entry variant (see separate story), has so far this year accounted for 7.8 per cent of a category that has slumped 7.3 per cent due mainly to the poor sales of Toyota’s locally built Camry.

Camry sales are down 18.6 per cent to April but are expected to receive a major spike when an all-new model is launched later this year, yet Toyota still dominates the segment with a 32.8 per cent share – ahead of Ford’s Mondeo (13.3 per cent), the Mazda6 (10.6), Subaru Liberty (9.1) and Accord Euro (8.2).

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai i40 wagon. Below: Hyundai i45 sedan.

Like the i40 wagon, which made its global premiere at the Geneva show in March and has been confirmed for release here in November, the i40 sedan will be available with diesel power.

Hyundai has also promised that the i40 – which will be based on the same new global mid-size platform that underpins the YF-series i45 sedan, VF-series i40 wagon and Kia’s TF Optima – will also deliver at least one technical feature not previously available in the mid-size segment, or any other Hyundai model.

Although only a single rear three-quarter sketch has been revealed ahead of next week’s world debut in Spain, where unlike the rest of Europe almost 40 per cent of D-segment (mid-size) models sold are sedans, the i40 sedan will feature the same striking front-end – and interior – as its wagon namesake.

Both models wear a development of the ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language that debuted on the ix35 compact SUV and is also seen on the i45.

However, while the i45 features a bold shoulder line that extends from its wrap-around tail-lights to the front quarter panel, the i40s add a second body-side crease that begins at the headlight and sweeps backwards over each wheelarch, overlapping the lower crease on the front door.

The more aggressive i40 sedan, which was designed at Hyundai Motor Europe’s Russelsheim R&D centre in Germany, looks almost like a hatchback from the rear, and also adds twin outboard exhausts to the i40 wagon menu.

“We have used very strong, fluid lines from front to rear to give i40 a distinctive appearance,” said HME chief designer Thomas Bürkle.

“We wanted to move away from the typical three-box saloon and create a car that was in keeping with the sporty nature of the i40 estate. By sculpting a low, elongated roofline, we’ve given the i40 saloon a striking coupe-like silhouette.” Although it rides on a shorter 2770mm wheelbase than the i40 wagon and i45 sedan (2795mm), Hyundai says the i40 sedan delivers best-in-class dimensions for front head (1025mm), shoulder (1455mm) and leg (1170mm) room.

No other details have been released, but the i40 sedan – like the ‘i-flow’ concept that previewed it – should be shorter, wider and lower than the i40 wagon and i45 sedan.

While the i45 is 4820mm long, 1835mm wide and 1470mm high (making it shorter than all bar the Camry and Kizashi, but wider than all but the Accord Euro and Mondeo), the i-flow concept was 4780mm long, 1850mm wide and 1420mm high.

Like the i40 wagon, which is now on sale in Europe, the i40 sedan will be powered by 84kW and 100kW versions of Hyundai’s all-new 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, which returns as little as 113g/km of CO2 emissions.

In Europe, where the i40 sedan goes on sale in early 2012 – six months after the i40 Estate – both i40s will also be launched with a 103kW 1.6-litre petrol four, followed by 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines.

Eventually, like the US-market Sonata that is related to Australia’s i45, the i40 is expected to be offered with both petrol-electric hybrid and twin-turbo petrol power in Europe. However, neither powertrain has been confirmed for Australia.

“The launch of the saloon represents the next step of the i40’s introduction to the European market, following the very positive reception for the i40 estate,” said HME senior vice-president and COO Allan Rushforth.

“The i40 saloon shares the same qualities found in the estate, including a dynamic design element, and broadens the appeal of the i40 to buyers in the D-segment.” November’s i40 wagon release will come in the middle of a rash of new Hyundai model arrivals in Australia this year, including the RB Accent sedan in July, the MD Elantra sedan in August and the all-new FS Veloster coupe in December.

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