Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Hyundai i45
Poetry in motion
June 2010

THOSE with great passion for what they do are always captivating.

Like MasterChef judge Matt Preston waxing lyrical about “putting your heart on the plate’’ and gushing how a pie with perfect pastry “takes you in its arms’’.

The car world has many passionate folk, too, and an enthusiastic group gathered in Brisbane for the Australian launch of Hyundai’s stunning new i45 mid-size sedan.

One of the highlights was the opportunity to hear from the horse’s mouth how the car gained its supermodel looks.

This was courtesy of special guest, Andre Hudson, who had flown in from Hyundai’s design studio in California.

He was the man who started with a blank piece of paper, started sketching and then saw his drawings become a wonderful reality.

There was plenty of passion and pride in his talk.

Plenty of honesty as well, with the 34-year revealing he initially had reservations about being asked a few years back to help sculpt a “family car’’, which at the time he had little affinity for.

He spoke of “Fluidic Sculpture’’, Hyundai Motor Company’s design philosophy, which in this instance has been brought to life in a modern, sophisticated car with a subtle classic elegance.

Fluidic Sculpture, we learned, is “the movement of line and surface as seen in and inspired by nature’’.

It has been used in the creation of the i series of cars, including the recently launched ix35.

“It is taut, muscular … athletic. It feels like it’s in motion, even when it is standing still,’’ Andre says.

“The front shows icon elements, a proud look _ like birds of prey.’’

Andre spoke about the most distinctive part of the design, a strong feature line, or crease, which runs down the sides of the i45, giving it a regal and sleek look and delivering a powerful statement.

With an obsession for quality and an unrelenting focus on design, i45 has been developed from the ground up with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring every element delivers purpose and function.

It’s certainly proof of how far Hyundai has come in terms of delivering style and quality.

The Korean brand has always been considered a value-for-money proposition but this really is something out of the box.

Hyundai is now the fifth largest - and fastest growing - car company in the world.

The i45 will be offered in three specification levels: Active from $29,490, Elite ($34,490) and Premium ($37,990).

All models are powered by the newly developed 2.4-litre Theta II GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) petrol engine.

Active will come with Hyundai’s independently developed six-speed manual transmission, and all models are offered with Hyundai’s six-speed automatic with electronic sequential manual mode gearbox.

Like its stablemates, i30, i30cw wagon, Santa Fe R-series, iLoad, iMax and ix35, the suspension of i45 has been tuned for Australian road conditions, offering sharp response, accurate handling and a comfortable ride on a variety of road conditions.

Active models are fitted with 16” alloy wheels, while Elite models have 17” alloys and Premium 18-inchers.

Hyundai includes a standard trip computer which provides distance to empty, average fuel consumption, average vehicle speed, elapsed time, and instant fuel economy. Steering wheel mounted cruise control is standard (automatic transmissions only), offering enhanced safety and efficiency on longer journeys.

The i45 has a suite of standard safety features, including six airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS), four-channel, four-sensor Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) supported with a Brake Assist System (BAS), and Hillstart Assist Control (HAC).

Exterior colours include: Black Diamond (mica); Remington Red (mica); Blue Passion (mica); Espresso (mica); Sleek Silver (metallic); Dark Grey (metallic) and Noble White (solid).

Active comes with black woven fabric with black leather bolsters upholstery while Elite and Premium variants have full black leather.

The i45, which is stacked with the highest specifications in the segment, is being aimed squarely at families with teenage children and empty nesters chasing a car with comfort, performance and style.

Hyundai expects to sell up to 500 a month, pinching sales from the likes of Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord.

First impressions are it is a formidable competitor.

Stay tuned for our on-road evaluation.

New i45 range – Manufacturer’s List Price:

i45 Active 2.4-litre GDI Petrol manual - $29,490

i45 Active 2.4-litre GDI Petrol automatic - $30,990

i45 Elite 2.4-litre GDI Petrol automatic - $34,490

i45 Premium 2.4-litre GDI Petrol automatic - $37,990

Optional metallic / mica paint - $450



ENGINE: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder Theta II GDI petrol

POWER: 148kW at 6300rpm

TORQUE: 250Nm at 4250rpm

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with electronic sequential manual mode

ECONOMY: 8 litres/100km (manual); 7.9 litres/100km (automatic)

EQUIPMENT: (ACTIVE, entry level model) 6 airbags, ESC Stability Control + TCS + ABS + EBD + BAS, Hill Start Assist Control, dusk sensing headlights, front fog lights, 16’’ alloys (with full sized spare), part leather, part cloth trim, cruise control (steering wheel mounted), USB audio input with iPod compatibility, trip computer, air conditioning, rear air vents. (ELITE specification) adds 17’’ alloys, leather seats, push button start, automatic climate control air, rear parking sensors, paddle shifters, rain sensing wipers. (PREMIUM) adds generous electric glass sunroof, 18’’ alloys, better suspension dampening, electric front seats, and premium audio system

BOTTOM LINE: From $29,490 for Active manual, $34,490 for Elite, and $37,990 for Premium