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Hyundai’s other mid-size sedan emerges

Eyes have it: Europe's new i40 sedan looks similar in profile to Australia's i45, but wears more understated clothing - and packs diesel power.

New i40 sedan unveiled as Hyundai considers Euro-flavoured sibling for i45 in Oz

13 May 2011

HYUNDAI has taken the wraps off its all-new flagship sedan for Europe, the i40, which could join the larger US-oriented i45 in a double-barrelled mid-size sedan onslaught in Australia next year.

The release of first images and full details alongside the car’s global debut at this week’s Barcelona motor show in Spain confirms the four-door i40 – which was first revealed in a teaser sketch earlier this week – is smaller and more understated than the i45.

Riding on the new global platform as the i45 but with a 25mm-shorter (2770mm) wheelbase, the i40 four-door is 80mm shorter at 4740mm long and 20mm narrower at 1815mm wide overall, but shares the same coupe-like roofline and 1470mm height.

That makes it shorter than all but Suzuki’s Kizashi in Australia’s D-segment sedan category, where Hyundai Motor Company Australia is considering positioning above the i45, which was released here in May 2010 and bolstered by a sub-$27,000 2.0-litre petrol variant this week.

Hyundai has confirmed it will introduce the similarly Euro-flavoured i40 wagon - which debuted at the Geneva motor show in March - here in November, potentially giving it three entrants in a segment dominated by Toyota’s fleet-friendly Camry sedan, which will be renewed this year, and multiple body styles of the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6.

No interior images of the i40 sedan, which hits European showrooms in the final quarter of this year and the UK in early 2012, have been released but the four-door’s cabin is expected to mirror that of the five-door’s and is claimed to offer best-in-class front head, shoulder and leg room.

That is despite a sweeping coupe-like roofline that Hyundai admits took inspiration from Volkswagen’s Passat CC. The more i40 silhouette may be more compact but also looks similar to the i45, with which it also shares upmarket exterior cues like twin outboard exhaust outlets, wing mirror indicators and chromed window surrounds.

Like the i45, the i40 is also distinguished by a bold body-side character line that descends from its tail-light to the front wheel-arch, while the i40 adds an extra front quarter crease that extends from its headlights to the front doors.

Overall, however, there is much less surface detailing – especially on the i40’s bonnet – and while a narrower two-bar chromed grille and less bootlid brightwork give the i40 a cleaner, more subtle appearance, a wave-shaped row of LEDs in each headlight adds a touch of Audi-style class.

“The i40 sedan boasts a purely European identity having been designed and engineered at the European R&D headquarters of Hyundai in Rüsselsheim, Germany,” said Hyundai, adding that the i40 wears a development of the i45’s (and ix35 SUV’s) ‘fluidic sculpture’ design theme by introducing ‘Modern Flow’ and ‘Premium Wing’ styling elements.

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“While the exterior of i40 sedan stands out for its fluidic form and distinctive appearance, the interior has been shaped to deliver practicality and comfort to the driver and passengers in a high-quality package,” said the chief designer of Hyundai Motor Europe’s technical centre, Thomas Bürkle.

As expected, the i40 sedan’s engine line-up mirrors that of the i40 Estate in Europe and provides another point of difference to Australia’s petrol-only i45 sedan by initially comprising two versions of the same new 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and a 1.6-litre Gamma four-cylinder petrol engine.

Hyundai’s all-new ‘Nu’ petrol four will arrive later in the i40, in which the direct-injection 2.0-litre GDI engine makes its debut.

Preliminary figures show the entry-level version of Hyundai’s new 1685cc 16-valve DOHC diesel four produces 85kW at 4000rpm and peak torque of 260Nm from just 1250 to 2750rpm, while emitting 122g/km of CO2.

The more powerful 1.7-litre oil-burner – the engine most likely to be available in Australia’s i40 wagon and, if it comes here, sedan - offers 100kW at the same 4000rpm and 325Nm between 2000 and 2500rpm, while emitting 124g/km. With a manual transmission, it can hit 100km/h in a claimed 10.6 seconds.

The 1591cc petrol four delivers 99kW at 6300rpm and 164Nm at 4850rpm and emits 149g/km, while the 1999cc Nu GDI petrol four produces 130kW at 6500rpm and 208Nm at 4700rpm, while emitting 156g/km.

Fitted with a six-speed manual transmission (the i45’s six-speed automatic will also be available in Europe), the Nu 2.0 GDI is claimed to accelerate to 100km/h in 9.7 seconds, while being able to return combined fuel economy of 6.8L/100km.

However, Hyundai says a range of fuel-saving ‘Blue Drive’ technologies – including the Integrated Stop & Go (ISG) idle-stop system, low rolling resistance tyres and an alternator management system (AMS) – further improves the 85kW 1.7-litre diesel’s efficiency to 113g/km and just 4.3L/100km (and the 100kW diesel to 119g/km and 4.5L/100km), making the i40 “the most environmentally-friendly model in its segment”.

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

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

“The i40 sedan shares the same qualities found in the wagon, including outstanding levels of fuel-efficiency, comfort and quality, and broadens the appeal of the i40 to buyers in the D-segment.” Hyundai stresses a new acoustic package was developed specifically for the i40 diesel, with NVH and particularly external drive-by noise said to be dramatically reduces by methods including Reciprocal Holography (which visualises noise reduction levels at certain frequency) and ADNA (Advanced Diagnostic Network Algorithm), which ranks noise sources in the order of their identified transfer paths.

Air-permeable carpet, sound absorbing engine bay layers and textile wheel-arch liners are said to reduce interior and exterior noise levels by 20 per cent.

High-tech features will 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, Bluetooth with voice recognition and satellite-navigation (none of which are available on Australia’s i45).

Hyundai says the i40 will be first in its class with an auto-defog system and heated steering wheel, while day-time running lights and Xenon headlights with washers will be optional.

Europe’s i40 will be fitted with up to nine airbags and, naturally, standard safety features will include electronic stability control, ABS brakes, brake assist, hill-start assist and automatic emergency stop signalling. Hyundai says it expects the i40 to achieve a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

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.

The i40 sedan’s boot is 20 litres smaller than the i45’s at a still-large 503 litres and, like the i45, the i40 will ride on 16, 17 and 18-inch wheels.

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