Hyundai's forthcoming Ford Mondeo rival, the i40, is to get much of the energy efficiency technology showcased in the firm's radical i-flow concept at Geneva.
The concept has an 'intelligent' grille that controls the amount of air cooling for the engine, regenerative braking, a thermo-electric generator around the catalyst that provides power for ancillary services and an insulated engine that should retain enough heat overnight to restart the next morning at 40deg C.
This will greatly reduce fuel consumption caused by the frictional effect of cold oil.
Hyundai expects these technologies to gradually make their way into the i40, which will be available with stop-start from launch.
The key elements of the design that will appear in the i40 — due to be launched in the UK in March 2011 in estate form first — are the hexagonal grille and the two sweeping lines over the front and rear wheels.
Chief designer Thomas Burkle looked to the success of South Korean Samsung in his drive for Hyundai's new design language. "Originally they were just making electronics, but now they’re challenging Sony," he said. "Hyundai has a reputation for making cars that are reliable. Now we need emotions."
The estate will be followed six months later by a saloon which has "coupe rather than hatchback" styling, according to Burkle.
Hyundai is also considering selling both cars in Korea, where the appetite for cutting-edge European designs is growing strongly. But the final decision will depend on the balance of European sales and plant capacity.