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Frankfurt show: Hyundai powers up i30

Moving pictures: Hyundai designers have aimed to make the all-new i30 exude a sense of constant motion, even when stationary.

Hyundai releases full details of new i30 in Europe ahead of mid-2012 Aussie launch

14 Sep 2011

HYUNDAI has released full details of its all-important second-generation i30 small car ahead of its European launch early in 2012 and an Australian release by mid-year.

Unveiled in five-door hatchback form at the Frankfurt motor show this week, with a wagon version due to follow, the all-new i30 was designed and engineered at the South Korean auto giant’s European technical centre in Russelsheim, Germany, and brings claims of improved design, quality, performance and efficiency.

It will need all of those attributes to build on the success of the current model, which has proven to be one of the biggest-selling cars in Australia – it is by far Hyundai’s highest-volume model, accounting for around 2500 sales a month this year – but will come under increasing pressure with a host of significant new model releases from its rivals over the next 12-18 months.

These include redesigned or heavily revised versions of the three cars that outsell it in Australia at the moment: the Holden Cruze, which has an Australian-designed hatchback just around the corner the Toyota Corolla, which is due for a significant upgrade next year and the market-leading Mazda3, which receives a major overhaul this month.

New-generation versions of the Subaru Impreza and Honda Civic are also due in the first half of next year, while a reborn Nissan ‘Pulsar’ with huge volume expectations is coming in the first quarter of 2013.

Hyundai Motor Co Australia advised GoAuto this week that Australian-specific details of the redesigned i30 will not be divulged until closer to its launch.

1 center imageIn Europe, the i30 has emerged with six engine variants across a quartet of four-cylinder powerplants – 1.4 and 1.6-litre units in both petrol and diesel.

The headline act is the 1.6-litre VGT (variable geometry turbo) ‘U-II’ diesel that develops 94kW of power at 4000rpm and 260Nm of torque from 1900-2750rpm, enabling the all-new i30 to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 10.9 seconds on its way to a 197km/h top speed.

Significantly, the 1.6 will also fall under Hyundai’s ‘Blue Drive’ sub-brand that brings eco tech such as idle-stop, low-resistance tyres and an ‘alternator management system’ to drive CO2 emissions down below 100g/km.

HMCA will not confirm at this stage whether Blue Drive will be introduced Down Under.

At the top of the petrol line-up is the Korean car-maker’s 1.6-litre direct-injection ‘Gamma GDI’ engine – still to be implemented in Australia, although it appears on sister brand Kia’s new Rio – and, in initial European spec, produces 99kW at 6300rpm and 164Nm at 4850rpm.

There are two other diesel variants: an entry-level 1.4-litre U-II ‘WGT’ mustering 66kW at 4000rpm and 220Nm from 1500-2750rpm, and a lower-spec version of the 1.6-litre U-II VGT that produces 81kW at 4000rpm and 260Nm from 1900-2750rpm.

It is a similar case with the petrol range, which includes a baseline 1.4-litre Gamma engine offering 73kW at 5500rpn and 137Nm at 4200rpm, and a mid-series 1.6-litre Gamma MPI with 88kW at 6300rpm and 156Nm at 4850rpm.

The 1.4-litre petrol and diesel are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, while both manual and automatic transmissions – both six-speeders – combine with the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines.

Drawing again on Hyundai’s so-called ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language – first shown on the 2009 ix-onic concept and now permeating the brand’s new-generation models – the new i30 is slightly longer (at 4300mm) and wider (at 1780mm) than the current model in an effort to liberate more interior room, while the 1470mm height is 10mm lower to give it a sportier stance.

The wheelbase remains at 2650mm, with the front and rear overhang measuring 880mm and 770mm respectively. Inside, front and rear legroom is, respectively, 1067mm and 880mm, headroom is 1018/963mm front/rear and shoulder-room 1420/1395mm.

Maximum luggage volume increases 10 per cent to 378 litres with the rear split-fold seats upright.

Hyundai says the cabin refinement and specification draws heavily from the standards set in the larger i40, pointing to the availability of a large ‘TFT Supervision’ instrument cluster, the latest ‘Flex Steer’ system (which varies the level of steering assistance between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes) and a seven-inch touch-screen mounted on top of the centre dash stack.

The company anticipates the new model will maintain the i30’s maximum five-star independent NCAP crash-test rating and in Europe it will offer six airbags as standard – front, side and curtain – with the option of a driver’s knee airbag.

Other standard safety equipment will include ABS, ESC, VSM (vehicle stability management) and an emergency stop signal, while creature comforts available on the new model will run to dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning and a panoramic sunroof.

The suspension configuration remains the same as the current model, with MacPherson struts up front and multi-links at the rear, while the motor-driven power steering system requires 2.85 turns lock to lock and enables a 10.6m turning circle.

Disc brakes continue at each corner of the car, with 15 or 16-inch ventilated discs at the front and 14-inch solid rotors at the rear.

The wheels range from 15 to 17 inches, the 15s on 195/65-section tyres, the 16s on 205/55 and the 17s on 225/45 rubber.

Hyundai Motor Europe chief designer Thomas Buerkle said that when designing the new-generation i30 “we used strong, fluid lines to sculpt a car which looks athletic and exudes a sense of constant motion, even when stationary”.

“We gave the car a bold stance, transmitting a confident attitude through sporty characteristics and dynamic proportions,” he said.

“In this way, the car is very close to the all-new i40, and the Hyundai design DNA is easy to recognise on these models.” While the European i30 will be built in the Czech Republic, Australian-spec models will continue to be sourced from South Korea.

In Europe, Hyundai expects to sell more than 120,000 i30s a year throughout its lifecycle, capturing around five per cent of the small-car segment.

Hyundai Motor Europe senior vice-president and COO Allan Rushforth said: “We expect the new-generation i30 to play a significant role in developing our sales and brand image in Europe, taking on the leading vehicles in the C-segment and joining the all-new i40 as a brand ambassador and quality benchmark for Hyundai.”

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