The new i40 has “all the credentials of an Audi but an affordable price.”
17 February 2011

Hyundai’s new i40 will be the first car to offer the firm’s new ‘modern premium’ luxury as it bids to offer Audi levels of quality in cars that undercut most others in their segments.

Revealed today ahead of a debut at next month’s Geneva motor show, the new i40 estate will reach UK showrooms in July with a premium quality interior, a generous standard equipment list and a range of fuel-efficient engines.

See official pics of the Hyundai i40

‘Modern premium’ is the firm’s desire to offer cars with “all the credentials of an Audi but an affordable price,” Hyundai’s UK managing director Tony Whitehorn told Autocar.

“Apple and Starbucks are good examples of modern premium,” he said. “They offer good quality products that everyone can enjoy. We want to offer cars with all the equipment, looks and feel of a premium car but at accessible prices.”

He said premium marques were now offering cheaper cars that offered less standard equipment as a way for them to more easily “sell a badge”. “We will do what they do without the badge but match them on luxury,” added Whitehorn.

The i40’s front-end is recognisable from Hyundai’s recent offerings with its split hexagonal grille, wraparound headlights and bonnet creases all being based around its fluidic sculpture design language. A long, flowing roofline and narrow glasshouse also feature, as do a sculpted strip of LED daytime running lights at the front.

But it is inside where Hyundai is really pushing the i40. High-quality soft-touch materials feature throughout, while there is also class-leading head, leg and shoulder room. The lengthy list of standard equipment includes Bluetooth connectivity, park assist, lane assist and an electric handbrake, while options include heated reclining front seats, bi-xenon headlights and a glass roof. The estate version has a load capacity of 553 litres rising to 1790 litres with all the rear seats folded flat.

From launch, a 1.7-litre turbodiesel with 113bhp or 134bhp will be offered alongside a 1.6-litre petrol unit with 138bhp. Shortly after launch, 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units will be offered. An ultra-efficient version of the 113bhp diesel with 65.7mpg and 113g/km will be offered soon after launch badged Blue Drive.

Hyundai has benchmarked the i40 against VW Passat and Ford Mondeo, and the car’s product manager Franklin Guinier said its steering and acceleration were particularly competitive.

It is expected to be priced competitively against the Mazda6, coming in at below £20,000 for the entry-level model but with a longer standard equipment list.

A four-door saloon version will also follow in early 2012, which Hyundai Europe’s chief operating officer Allan Rushforth said “would match the VW Passat CC for style”.

Mark Tisshaw

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