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Future models - Hyundai - HCD-7

Hyundai heads up-market

Flying design: The HCD-7's shape is inspired by an aircraft fuselage.

Hyundai unveils its future luxury contender to take on Benz and BMW

14 Feb 2002

EVER-AMBITIOUS Hyundai has targeted Germany's luxury limousines with its V8-powered HCD-7 concept car.

Unveiled at the Chicago auto show, the sleek HCD-7 is being mooted as the basis of a luxury contender within five years.

It's an evolution of the Equus which has been on sale in Hyundai's Korean home market for some years, but has been judged too conservative to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi in western markets such as the USA.

With an overall length of close to five metres and a wheelbase of 2.829 metres, the HCD-7 is a bigger vehicle than Hyundai's best known big car, the Grandeur.

The HCD-7 also shares little in looks with the Grandeur. Its flowing shape was developed at Hyundai's California Design Centre by senior designer Roger Flores, who was inspired by an aircraft fuselage for the exterior.

"The HCD-7 is designed to show what the next generation of an advanced performance sedan might look like it's the new look of luxury," said Mr Flores. "The HCD-7 is luxurious, spacious and comfortable, but it is also sleek and sporty. Luxury-car buyers today want both comfort and style."Standout styling features include the bold grille that is meant to be reminiscent of current production designs, a wraparound windshield that hides the A-pillars, a clamshell roof design and very short body overhangs.

The aircraft theme is carried into the cockpit as well. The dashboard is arched toward the driver and front seat passenger for easier reach. The instrument panel is simple and tailored after a watch face. The door panels have been curved in a concave arc.

There is no centre stack containing the climate, navigation and sound-system controls. Instead, there is a seven-inch LCD flat-screen colour monitor that pops out of the dashboard when the owner inserts the ignition card into a slot on the right side of the steering wheel.

The input devices for the monitor are located in two places: below the monitor for passenger convenience, and on the steering wheel for easy access by the driver. The seats are fully adjustable and trimmed with leather.

Powering the front wheels is an all-aluminium DOHC 32-valve 4.5-litre 200kW V8 mated to a five-speed automatic with Shiftronic manual shift control.

Suspension comprises double wishbones front and rear with adaptive electro-hydraulic shocks with automatic ride height control, and there's 21-inch wheels shod with 245/45 tyres. ABS and traction control help keep the show on the road as well.

Hyundai has used the "HCD" nomenclature to identify its Californian-designed concept cars for nearly a decade, and most of them have hinted at future production cars.

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