Hyundai's Mondeo-rival revealed
The cars will be called i40, and will be the Korean company's European flagship models.
The i40 will be pitched into the mainstream family/fleet car market against the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, Toyota Avensis, Vauxhall Insignia and the Volkswagen Passat.
The estate version of the car arrives this spring, followed by the saloon in the autumn. Prices are likely to be slightly below those of the Ford Mondeo and start from just shy of £17,000.
Two new engines – a 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol unit and a twin-turbo 1.7-litre diesel – will reflect the downsizing trend and help to ensure that CO2 emissions of all manual versions are below 160g/km, while some of the technology on offer is normally found only in executive and luxury models.
Advanced technology features on offer will include adaptive front lights that automatically adjust the beam pattern according to the car's speed and steering angle, parking assistance, and a lane-keeping system.
There will also be the option of a heated steering wheel, heated and reclining rear seats and up to nine airbags.
Hyundai is unfazed by dramatically falling sales for family cars in western Europe, believing that the growing market in former Iron Curtain countries will more than compensate.
The new 2.0-litre GDI petrol unit develops 175bhp and around 160lb ft of torque. CO2 emissions are 156g/km with the six-speed manual transmission, while average economy will be more than 55mpg.
A 140bhp 1.6-litre version of the same engine will also be offered, and there will be three versions of the 1.7-litre turbodiesel, starting at 125bhp and featuring the Hyundai-Kia Intelligent Stop&Go stop-start system, pegging CO2 emissions at a class low of 113g/km.
In the second half of 2012, Hyundai will add a performance version with twin
turbos, upping the power stakes to 160bhp without hurting fuel consumption. The CO2 target with this engine is 119g/km.
At nearly 4.8 metres long the i40 is roughly the same size as most of its rivals, but it has an unusually long wheelbase of almost 2.8 metres, ensuring generous legroom and luggage space.
Hyundai claims the car will offer a minimum 553 litres for cargo, stretching to more than 1700 litres with the rear seats folded down.