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Hyundai has revealed its new Ford Mondeo-sized saloon and estate, created exclusively for Europe.
The cars will become the new flagships of the Korean companys range this side of the Atlantic.
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 only found in executive and luxury models.
The car will be pitched into the mainstream family/fleet car market against the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, Toyota Avensis, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat. Hyundai plans to price it about 5% below the Mondeo, bringing it into direct competition with the Mazda 6.
The Koreans are 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 for the downturn elsewhere.
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 direct-injection engine will also be offered, and there will be two 1.7-litre turbodiesels, (113bhp and 138bhp). The least powerful of the two when allied to Hyundais Intelligent Stop & Go stop-start system pegs CO2 emissions at a class low of 113g/km.
Hyundai i40 video
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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 emissions target with this engine is 119g/km.
Advanced technology features on offer will include adaptive front lights that automatically adjust the beam pattern according to your speed and steering angle, parking assistance that measures kerbside gaps and steers the car in for you, and a lane-keeping system.
At nearly 4.8 metres long the i40 is roughly the size most of its rivals, but it has an unusually long wheelbase of almost 2.8 metres, ensuring generous legroom and luggage space. Hyundai claims a minimum 553 litres for cargo, stretching to more than 1700 litres with the rear seats folded down.