The new Hyundai i40 saloon has been launched at the Barcelona motor show.
Designed and engineered at Hyundai’s European R&D centre in Russelsheim, the 4740mm long Hyundai i40 four-door saloon will reach UK showrooms in early 2012, around six months after the five-door estate showcased at the recent Geneva motor show.
Hyundai’s European design chief Thomas Burkle said: “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 tourer.
“By sculpting a low, elongated roof line, we’ve given the i40 saloon a striking coupe-like silhouette.”
Hyundai has previously said the i40 saloon has taken its inspiration from the swoopy styling of the VW Passat CC.
Despite this, however, Hyundai has stated that the i40 will be best in class for front head, shoulder and leg room.
Hyundai is expecting sales of 60,000 i40s a year in Europe with the car, 25 per cent of which will be saloons. By the end of this year the company also hopes to raise its European market stake to three per cent - currently sitting at 2.8 per cent.
As with the estate, a 1.7-litre turbodiesel with 113bhp or 134bhp is expected to be offered at launch alongside a 1.6-litre petrol unit with 138bhp. Shortly after launch, a new 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine will feature in the engine line-up. The unit generates 175bhp and 157lb ft of torque, "ensuring that the i40 brings a good balance between performance and fuel economy."
An i40 saloon with this engine and a six-speed manual gearbox will hit 62mph in 9.7sec, record fuel economy figures of 41.5 mpg and achieve a CO2 rating of 159 g/km.
An ultra-efficient version of the 113bhp diesel with 65.7mpg and 113g/km will be offered soon after launch badged Blue Drive.
Barcelona is significant as a launch venue for the i40; 40 per cent of cars sold in Spain’s D-segment are saloons. That’s in stark contrast to the UK where, for example, Ford doesn’t even offer a saloon version of the Mondeo due to the segment’s diminishing popularity.