GENEVA: Hyundai looks set to transform the way its brand has traditionally been viewed in Europe through the launch of the i40, unveiled here.
Built at the company’s European R&D base in Russelsheim, Germany, the D-segment i40 will move Hyundai towards a ‘modern premium’ positioning on the continent, providing consumers with high-end features and vehicle quality at lower prices.
The 4.7-metre long i40 will first go on sale in wagon form, supported by Hyundai’s Five Year Triple Care assurance. This package attracted European consumers to the brand in 2010 through its combination of a five-year unlimited warranty, five years of roadside assistance and five years of vehicle health checks.
“The i40 is a sign of how far Hyundai has come in recent years, and truly embodies what we mean when we talk about being a ‘modern premium’ brand," said Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe.
“It could be argued that i40 is our most significant new car for several years. By launching the car in wagon form first, a body style responsible for over 50% of sales in this segment, we’re looking to make an immediate impression with European motorists,” Rushforth added.
The original inspiration for the i40 can be traced back to the Genus concept car. Genus represented Hyundai’s vision in Europe for a unique alternative within the D-segment, combining practicality with emotional design. Genus helped to forge a new identity for the company, with the debut of the hexagonal grill, a feature which has since become Hyundai’s brand face in Europe.
The sporty design of the i40 is said to be not at the expense of interior comfort. The wheelbase is 2.77 metres and the car delivers best-in-class dimensions for front head (1025mm), shoulder (1455mm), and leg (1170mm) room. This roominess promises to give all occupants spending long periods of the time in i40 the most comfortable D-segment ride available.
Cargo capacity in the i40 more than holds its own among competitors in the class, with figures ranging from 553 litres with the rear seats occupied up to 1719 litres with the rear seats folded down.
The i40 will be available with a choice of four Euro V-compliant engines: two petrol and two diesel. These units cover a power spread of 115 ps to 177 ps, with torque delivery extended across a wide engine-speed range. Manual and automatic transmissions will also be offered.
In a segment where diesel models represent over 75% of total sales, Hyundai is anticipating that the U-II 1.7-litre diesel unit developing 136 ps will be the most popular engine among both private and fleet buyers.
Hyundai’s all new four-cylinder 2-litre GDI engine, called ‘Nu‘, makes its debut in the i40, promising deliver higher torque (for enhanced driveability), improved fuel economy and reduced emissions, plus undiminished durability and excellent NVH characteristics – similar to the multi-point fuel injected engine.
Equipped with GDI (gasoline direct injection) this 1,999 cc unit generates 177 ps and 213Nm of torque which ensures that the i40 boasts best-in-class performance and fuel economy. An i40 with this engine and a six-speed manual gearbox will accelerate to 130 kph (81 mph) in just 15.7 seconds, record fuel economy figures of 6.7 l/100 km (combined cycle) and achieve a CO2 rating of just 156 g/km.
Overall, Hyundai is expecting a 65/35% spread between diesel and gasoline-powered i40 sales.
In terms of environmental performance, the all-new i40 will feature the latest technologies developed under Hyundai’s Blue Drive™ eco-program, including Integrated Stop & Go (ISG), low rolling-resistance tyres and an alternator management system
The NVH package aims to provide a quieter and more comfortable driving environment for diesel vehicles. The new acoustic package in i40 utilizes materials such as air permeable carpet, sound absorbing layers for engine-room encapsulation, and textile wheel-arch liners to absorb noise sources from engine, road, and muffler, providing a 20% improvement in interior noise levels (on Articulation Index), and a 3dB reduction of outside engine noise when idling.
High-tech features include smart-parking assist and lane-keeping assist systems, as well as connectivity items like Bluetooth® with voice recognition and full map navigation with rear view camera.
In terms of comfort and convenience, the i40 will be available with an electric parking brake, front air ventilation seats, heated and reclining rear seats, as well as new features for the segment like auto-defog system, and a heated steering wheel.
Advanced lighting innovations, such as standard day-time running lights with Xenon headlamps or an LCD supervision instrument cluster, will further strengthen the i40’s position as the lead model in Hyundai’s line-up and the European D-segment.
The i40 uses the latest active and passive safety technologies to ensure maximum protection for its occupants. Active safety features, fitted as standard in several countries, include ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ABS (anti-lock braking system), Hill Start Assist Control (to prevent roll-back when starting on an incline), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), Brake Assist System and Emergency Stop Signal.
In terms of passive safety, every i40 on the road in Europe will be fitted with up to nine airbags – front, side and curtain, with driver knee airbag available as standard on all models.
Hyundai anticipates the i40 to continue the company’s excellent safety record and attain the maximum 5-star result under Euro NCAP’s impact assessment.