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Hyundai readies i40 sedan, ix45 and Elantra Coupe

On the way: Hyundai Australia has not revealed its launch plans for the all-new i40 sedan, which has now received official regulatory approval.

All-new i40 sedan ready for Oz as Hyundai prepares Euro-focussed diesel mid-sizer

27 Jan 2012

HYUNDAI’S new model onslaught will crank back into top speed this year after a relatively subdued six months, with the all-new Veloster coupe due here next month, followed by the new i30 hatchback, i40 sedan and Elantra Coupe, plus a redesigned Santa Fe.

The latter has now been confirmed to make its world debut at the New York motor show in April, following the internet leak of two grainy spy images of the new model this week, and the new Santa Fe could assume its new European nameplate – ix45 – when it goes on sale in Australia.

Hyundai’s Australian outfit will not confirm a local release date for either the next Santa Fe or the Korean brand’s all-new Elantra Coupe, which will make its global premiere at the Chicago show next month.

However it has confirmed the next-generation i30 (seen at last September’s Frankfurt show) will arrive here by mid-year, while the Veloster Turbo will join next month’s cheeky new three-door by the end of this year.

Nor will Hyundai reveal its Australian launch plans for the all-new i40 sedan, which has now received official regulatory approval and will soon slot into the booming mainstream brand’s mid-size passenger car range between the i45 sedan and i40 Tourer.

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai i30. Below: Veloster.

Just as this month’s new Accent diesel completes Hyundai’s light-car rollout alongside the petrol-only i20, the four-door i40 will not only give Hyundai a second medium sedan contender, but a second mid-size diesel offering.

First seen at the Barcelona show last May wearing a more subtle, European-focussed iteration of the US-centric i45’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ exterior design, the i40 sedan is essentially a booted version of the i40 Tourer, which went on sale here in October last year.

Like the i40 wagon, the sedan will be available with both 2.0-litre petrol and 1.7-litre diesel four-cylinder engines, both matched with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

That means the i40 petrol sedan will be priced somewhere between the i45 2.0 Active manual sedan ($26,990 plus on-road costs) and the i40 Tourer 2.0 Active manual wagon (from $32,490), while the i40 diesel sedan will cost less than the i40 Tourer Active diesel manual wagon (from $34,490).

The VF-series i40 sedan is also likely to follow the YF-series i45 sedan and (VF) i40 Tourer in being available here in three equipment grades, including the entry-level Active, mid-range Elite and top-shelf Premium, with diesel versions of the i40 wagon commanding a $2000 price premium over equivalent petrol models.

As with the i40 Tourer (but not the i45), the i40 sedan’s ‘Nu’ 2.0-litre GDI direct-injection petrol four delivers 130kW and 213Nm of torque, making it about 10kW more powerful and 15Nm torquier than the i45’s older port-injection 2.0-litre engine, which also lacks continuously variable valve timing and two-step variable induction.

Similarly, the i40 sedan will come with the same new 1.7-litre common-rail direct-injection four-cylinder turbo-diesel as the i40 Tourer, in which it produces 100kW and 330Nm (the latter between 2000 and 2500rpm), or 320Nm when paired with the six-speed auto.

With a manual transmission, the 2.0-litre i40 is claimed to hit 100km/h in 9.7 seconds, while the 1.7-litre diesel version does it in 10.6.

The 2.0-litre i40 Tourer returns fuel consumption of 6.8 litres per 100km (manual) and 7.5L/100km (base auto), while the i40 diesel returns just 4.7L/100km (Active manual, which therefore has a theoretical driving range of almost 1500km) and up to 6.0L/100km (Elite/Premium auto), so expect the lighter i40 sedan to be even more efficient in both guises.

While the diesel i40 sedan weighs 80kg more than the petrol model, both vehicles come with a 700kg towing capacity (1500kg braked). Both new i40 models should ride on 15-inch alloy wheels as standard, with the option of 17 and 18-inch alloys.

Like the i40 wagon, standard safety equipment will extend to electronic stability and traction control, ABS brakes and six airbags, brake assist, hill-start assist and automatic emergency stop signalling.

While day-time running lights and Xenon headlights with washers are optional in Europe, other high-tech i40 features in Europe include a self-parking system, lane-keeping assistance, ventilated front seats, heated and reclining rear seats, an electric parking brake, TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LCD instrument cluster, a rear-view camera and Bluetooth with voice recognition and satellite-navigation.

Like the i45, the i40 sedan will be fitted as standard with Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers and hydraulic power steering that returns a turning circle of 10.92 metres, but the i40 has a slightly quicker steering ratio with 2.88 (versus 2.94) turns lock-to-lock.

As we’ve reported, the i40 sedan is more compact than the bolder i45, measuring 4740mm long (making it 80mm shorter), 1815mm wide (20mm narrower) and the same 1470mm high.

Riding on 25mm-shorter (2770mm) wheelbase than the i45, the German-designed i40 four-door is shorter than all but Suzuki’s Kizashi in Australia’s D-segment sedan category, yet is claimed to offer best-in-class front head, shoulder and leg room. The i40 sedan’s boot is 20 litres smaller than the i45’s at a still-large 503 litres.

The addition of the i40 sedan will give Hyundai a three-pronged attack in Australia’s burgeoning mainstream mid-size car market, which was most recently joined by Toyota’s new homegrown Camry and the fresh VW Passat, and will be bolstered within 12 months or so by the all-new Holden Malibu, Ford Mondeo and Mazda6.

Last year Australian sales of the i45 – launched here in May 2010 – soared by almost 140 per cent to 4872 vehicles, while the i40 Tourer found 394 homes in less than three months, together accounting for more than nine per cent of all sub-$60,000 mid-size vehicle sales and placing Hyundai fourth in class behind Toyota, Ford and Mazda.

In Europe, Hyundai expects diesel i40s to comprise 65 per cent of sales in a segment that is 75 per cent diesel there, with the i40 sedan forecast to comprise just 25 per cent of 60,000 annual i40 sales overall.

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