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Geneva show: Hyundai looks to the future

Connected: Hyundai’s Le Fil Rouge concept apparently connects the Korean company’s design themes from the past, present and future.

Le Fil Rouge concept provides window to the future of next-gen Hyundai style


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7 Mar 2018

TAKE a good look at this Hyundai concept revealed at the Geneva motor show overnight – that design will be applied to all next-generation Hyundai sedans and SUVs to separate the brand from “the herd”.

Called Le Fil Rouge HDC-1, the latest in Hyundai’s line of HDC concept cars is a showcase for the Korean company’s new styling theme that it dubs “sensuous sportiness”.

Hyundai’s press release suggests Le Fil Rouge translates from French into English as “common thread” (Google translate begs to differ, saying it means red wire), but the inference is that the new design theme connects Hyundai’s past, present and future styling languages.

Hyundai Motor executive vice-president and head of Hyundai design centre Luc Donckerwolke said at Geneva that Le Fil Rouge was a reinterpretation of Hyundai’s design DNA that started with the Hyundai Coupe Concept in 1974.

“Building on our long history of creating distinctive and sporty character in vehicles, we will open a new era for Hyundai design,” he said.

Penned at Hyundai’s German design centre, the concept sedan has a curvy, coupe-style profile, but it is unlikely to surface as a luxury competitor for vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS or Audi A7.

Instead, the teardrop design, including the roof line that looks as if it was drawn in one continuous pen stroke from the C pillar to the boot, is likely to turn up on future models such as Sonata and Elantra.

The most obvious change is the wide new grille that reaches almost to the front wheelarches. It is said to be a development of Hyundai’s current “cascading grille” design, but with a 3D look with “parametric jewels inside for a commanding presence”.

No powertrain details were given, but the closed grille suggests Le Fil Rouge was conceived as an all-electric affair.

Hyundai’s designers claim they focused on harmony between the four fundamental elements of vehicle design – proportion, architecture, styling, and technology.

The proportion is said to be based on “the golden ratio” – “a common mathematical ratio found in nature which enabled Hyundai designers to create an aesthetically pleasing, natural looking composition that embodies charisma”.

The exterior and interior are said to be connected by “tube architecture” that carries the sporty exterior design into the cabin.

The rear-hinged back doors are most likely fanciful, included to give the concept some extra pizzazz. Likewise the four-seat interior layout that, in most family vehicles, will make way for a more practical five-seat design.

In an era when most car companies are shifting to interior surfaces such as carbon-fibre and metal, the Le Fil Rouge features slabs of wood veneer.

This, Hyundai says, “evokes natural beauty with an emotional touch to add an airy feel to the vehicle”.

The new design has come too late for the latest Santa Fe which has just been revealed in South Korea ahead of its roll out in Australia about mid-year.

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