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Hyundai i40: UK to get the i-Flow, NOT the new Sonata

Thu, 25 Feb 2010

The Hyundai i-Flow - the UK and European Hyundai i40. Set to launch in 2011

Well, you learn something every day.

We’ve been running stories over the last few months on the Hyundai i40 / Hyundai Sonata which has been busy launching in Asia and the US. Just last week we reported on the Australian version of the Sonata – the Hyundai i45 – and we had assumed (we thought quite reasonably) that the UK and Europe would get the same Hyundai i40. But apparently not.

It seems that Hyundai thinks that Europe needs a different car to the Sonata so, although we’ll have to wait until 2011, we will get the production version of the Hyundai i-Flow Concept that’s off to Geneva next week. We had a word with Hyundai this morning and they said

“The Sonata (sold now in Korea and the US) is not the same as the car that will come to Europe. They do share a platform, but that’s all. The Sonata and i45 have been designed with those markets in mind. The i-flow car has been designed with European consumers in mind and will be with us this time next year.”

Which makes it clear enough.

So what’s on offer with the i-Flow concept which will spawn the UK and European version of the Hyundai i40? Well, as the man from Hyundai said, it will share a platform with the Sonata/i45 and be covered by a sleek and stylish body with an impressive drag coefficient of 0.25.

Hyundai’s first diesel-electric hybrid powertrain makes emissions of just 85g/km and economy of 94mpg possible. The  1.7 litre engine gets a turbo and Hyundai’s Lithium Ion-Polymer battery and a six-speed, dual-clutch ‘box. The interior gets seats and centre console made with materials supplied by BASF for low weight and volume. You get a big contoured screen on the dash which is not only touch sensitive but can recognise gestures. So be careful – you don’t know what the coffee handshake gesture aimed at the idiot in the outside lane will make the Hyundai do.

BASF have also had a hand in the paint job on the i-flow, which gives the paintwork a polished metal appearance, all the better to show off the fluid lines. Or so Hyundai tell us.

But joking apart, this looks a might fine concept from Hyundai. True, it may loses some of its concept goodies by the time it hits the roads in 2011, but as a Mondeo sector challeneger it looks very convincing.

We’ll be checking the i-flow out at Geneva next week to see just how promising it looks in the flesh. But at least we now know that the new Hyundai i40 for the UK and Europe is definitely the i-Flow.

By Cars UK