Days after first teasing its next battery-electric vehicle, Hyundai has given us an uncloaked look at the Ioniq 6 sedan — or as the automaker has dubbed it, the “Electrified Streamliner.”
As TheDetroitBureau.com previously reported, the new battery-powered sedan was expected to draw heavily from the Hyundai Prophecy Concept first unveiled in 2020. It adopts a single, curved line running from nose to tail in order to minimize wind drag and maximize both performance and range. But it also creates a distinctive and potentially controversial new design language for the South Korean carmaker.
“Ioniq 6 connects an emotional convergence of functionality with aesthetics,” SangYup Lee, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Design Center, said in a statement accompanying these images.
“The distinctive streamlined design is the result of close cooperation between engineers and designers, with obsessive attention to detail and customer-centric values at the core. We have created the Ioniq 6 as a mindful cocoon that offers personalized place for all.”
Déjà vu all over again?
The look of the Ioniq 6 might actually trigger a sense of déjà vu for some readers. The design bears more than a passing resemblance to the “one-bow” theme that Mercedes-Benz adopted for the EQS, the flagship battery-electric sedan it launched late last year.
Both manufacturers have common goals, namely reducing wind drag, which is critical with battery-electric vehicles, especially when it comes to maximizing range.
Ioniq 6 has an extremely low drag coefficient of 0.21, according to Hyundai, only ever so slightly higher than that of the EQS — though such measurements can get a little fuzzy.
Clearing the air
To achieve that level of aerodynamics, Hyundai designers used not only a smoothly curved exterior but added an integrated rear spoiler and “separation traps” by the rear bumper. There are active air flaps up front, “wheel gap reducers,” and super-slim digital side mirrors.
Automakers have been forecasting the arrival of digital exterior mirrors for decades but the technology has really only just reached the practical stage. A handful of models offering them have so far been approved for sale in Europe and Asia. Federal regulators have not given their approval in the U.S. though Tesla and several other automakers are seeking the go-ahead.
While virtually all key details of the Ioniq 6 design are aimed at minimizing drag, Hyundai also put a premium on giving the sedan an elegant, high-tech appearance. It uses what the automaker bills as “700 Parametric Pixels,” or miniature LED bulbs, for its head and tail lamps, as well as accenting lighting inside around its air vents and center console.
Lighting is critical to the interior, with ambient lamps that can be set to any of 64 different colors.
A “cocoon-shaped interior”
Inside, the Ioniq 6 picks up on some elements first seen with the automaker’s all-electric Ioniq 5 SUV, but the goal was to create a more “cocoon-shaped interior (which) serves as both a comfortable hideaway and personal space, replete with practical features and sustainable materials to facilitate a mindful, eco-friendly mobility experience and lifestyle,” Hyundai said in a news release.
Twin 12-inch digital displays top the instrument panel, one for gauges, the other to operate the infotainment system.
As with the Ioniq 5, the use of a skateboard-like platform allows for a flat load floor, and Hyundai makes use of that with an extra-large center console.
The E-GMP platform is shared with the Ioniq 5 — and will serve future models, such as the upcoming Ioniq 7 SUV. The battery pack and motors are mounted under the load floor and, without an internal combustion engine up front, some space could be repurposed for passengers and cargo.
It remains to be seen whether the rounded shape of the Ioniq 6 will impinge on rear headroom, however.
The flexible E-GMP architecture will allow for a variety of different battery pack sizes and motor configurations. In the Ioniq 6, look for both single and dual motor variants, the latter expected to make around 300 horsepower in standard trim. But some observers suggest a version of the Ioniq 6 will also be offered in Hyundai N trim making as much as 576 hp, using the same drivetrain layout as the upcoming Kia EV6 GT.
In terms of range, the sleeker body should yield big benefits here. The Ioniq 5 SUV gets an EPA rating of up to 300 miles in rear-wheel-drive form, and 256 miles for the twin-motor package. The Ioniq 6 could come in closer to 350 miles with a single-motor option.
To underscore its drive for a “sustainable future,” Hyundai said it will use a number of environmentally friendly materials for the Ioniq 6, including recycled pop bottles for seat fabrics and headliners, “vegan” leather alternatives, and even paints derived from vegetable oils.
Look for the formal sheet metal reveal of the Ioniq 6 next month. It’s expected to reach market as a 2024 model.