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Hyundai unveiled its i-Flow concept vehicle, calling it a preview for a future D-Segment contender. According to Hyundai, we may see the i-Flow’s styling and technology in a 2011 production model. Would it be too much to expect it in the 2011 Euro-spec Sonata?
The seventh of a series of concepts from the Russelsheim design studio, the i-Flow extends upon Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” philosophy. The outside offers a futuristic look while inside, the i-Flow has an alien, Hyundai calls it “bionic”, feel.
Under the futuristic shell, the i-Flow is Hyundai’s first diesel hybrid powertrain. At the i-Flow’s heart is the U2 1.7L two-stage turbo engine combined with a lithium-ion powered motor. No horsepower or torque figures were provided, but Hyundai says the i-Flow gets 78.4 mpg.
Like the Blue Will concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the i-Flow recycles exhaust heat, capturing the energy and using it to power auxiliary systems.
The i-Flow also uses a thermal engine encapsulation technology which helps the engine reach optimum operating temperature quicker by retaining heat when the engine is idle. According to Hyundai, the i-Flow’s engine will stay above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to 14 hours, much longer than a non-insulated engine’s time of three hours. Hyundai estimates this will cut 5% of emissions in the summer and up to 9% in the winter.
Gallery: Hyundai i-Flow concept
Concept foreshadows future European replacement for the Sonata
Hyundai has just revealed the first photo that shows its new i-Flow concept in full. The concept car is set to be revealed at next week’s Geneva Auto Show and is a look ahead at the future of the Sonata in Europe. With a new Sonata having just been launched in North America and Korea, Hyundai has decided to shy away from the global vehicle approach and instead create a new Europe-specific Sonata replacement that is likely to be both more premium and more expensive.
With a hybrid version of the new Sonata set to debut this year in North America, Hyundai’s i-Flow concept looks ahead at a possible hybrid diesel for Europe. The i-Flow is powered by a 1.7-liter 4-cylinder turbo-diesel and Hyundai’s Blue-drive hybrid system, as well as a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Hyundai boasts that this engine, combined with a ultra-low drag coefficient of just 0.25 cd helps the concept achieve 78.4 mpg (U.S.).
In addition to this concept, Hyundai will show off low emissions and increased range “blue” versions of it’s i10, i20, i30 and ix35 (Tucson) models. A fuel cell Tucson will also be on display.
GALLERY: Hyundai i-Flow Concept
Official release after the jump:
Hyundai has just released a single sketch of the i-Flow Concept, which it will officially unveil at the Geneva Auto Show next month. The i-Flow is a look at what the company’s next D-segment (mid-size) car for the European market will be.
We’re surprised to hear Hyundai is going this route because in the past the Sonata (or i40) was a world car platform and the automaker has just introduced the all-new 2011 Sonata in North America. It seems, however, that Hyundai has decided Europe needs a more dedicated model, which we imagine will be more premium and possible a bit smaller, to complete with the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat. It’s possible that this Sonata replacement could keep the same underpinnings as the new Sonata, but use Genesis-grade trim items and a unique design.
We’ll be sure to bring you more info when Hyundai unveils the car at the Geneva Auto Show. AutoGuide’s live Geneva coverage begins March 2nd.
Official release after the jump: