A remake of the first Mercedes-Benz CLS? This is what we tell ourselves when we examine the new Hyundai Ioniq 6 in profile, with 100% electric engine. In particular because of this pavilion drawn in a single curve, another curve that connects the headlights to the rear lights.
However, Simon Loasby, Hyundai’s style director who shows us his creation in Hyundai’s “Motorstudio” in Goyang, South Korea, reveals that his team found its inspiration much further in the past. He mentions vehicles with very radical designs from the “Streamline” school, such as the Stout Scarar and the Phantom Corsair. Types of rolling crustaceans, created in the 1930s and inspired by the aerodynamic advancement of aviation.
Because aerodynamics play a decisive role in the development of this second piece that Hyundai adds to its Ionic electric chessboard. Technically, the 6 generally makes up for the 5’s modular E-GMP platform, an SUV that looks like a big compact, and also benefits from its 800-volt system paired with a 350 kW charger. Without forgetting the choice between two lithium-ion batteries, one of 77.4 kWh, the other of 53 kWh, the multi-link rear axle and the transmission that takes place both to the rear wheels and to the four. It is therefore the Cx of just 0.21, much lower than the 0.29 of the 5, which contributes to improving the autonomy, announced at 614 km with the large battery, or 107 km more than the equivalent 5. Remarkable!
Rival of cars like the Tesla Model 3, with an estimated entry price of around 50,000 euros, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 isn’t necessarily the most visually appealing when you’re in front of it. We would like to lower and stretch it to find the Taycan-style purity of the Prophecy 2020 concept that announced it.
However, it should be noted that the general architecture must have posed problems for the designers: the pack of cells, in the shape of a skateboard, extends over the entire wheelbase (2.95 m, or 5 cm less than that of the 5), the which means that passengers sit relatively high in the passenger compartment. To complicate matters, the overhangs are truncated and it must offer plenty of space both in front and behind for tall adults. At 4.85m, the 6 is 22cm longer than the 5 but stands 11cm tall, its 1.49m figure still places it 6cm above a BMW 3 Series.
We test the more elegant Ioniq 6, which has a 77.4 kWh battery, four-wheel drive and 20-inch wheels (18-inch ones are also available). It is able to travel 519 km between two connections, benefits from a power of 321 hp, slightly higher than that of the Ioniq 5, and equivalent charging times: 8 hours with an 11 kW charger, but 18 minutes to go from 10 to ‘80% on a 350 kW ultrafast terminal.
The atmosphere on board is reminiscent of a living room: the front seats offer great comfort while providing adequate lateral support, while those above 1.80 m will appreciate the headroom. The floating center console, which contains stowage, adds to the impression of space even if it doesn’t, but as in its Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 cousins, the 6 has very hollow door panels, freeing up plenty of knee room, a unusual but not unpleasant sensation.
Some plastics remain tough, but overall this cabin is modern, minimalist, and well done. At the top of the dashboard, there are two 12-inch twin screens that regulate touch as you scan. The one on the right overlooks, in addition to the aerators, a row of buttons that imitate aluminum, overcoming the capacitive keys of the air conditioning unit set in a black lacquered plate.
Of course, in the back, we realize all the advantages of car packaging, because we benefit from a lot of legroom and a perfectly flat floor. So that even if the seats are not that comfortable, you feel very comfortable. For its part, the too narrow opening of the rear trunk makes it difficult to load large objects, but the volume is not lacking (the front trunk does not offer more space than a cup holder, but should be more capacious on the two-wheel drive versions) .
My first lap immerses me in Seoul’s nightmare traffic, where it’s clear that Hyundai has finely developed the electric powertrain, which is very natural and progressive in its reactions to the throttle. You can also set it as you wish by playing the driving modes Eco, Normal and Sport for added dynamism. We also have the ability to adjust the regenerative braking power via the steering wheel paddles, but the basic setting is fine.
The same cannot be said of the optional digital rear-view mirrors which, although their cameras are more aerodynamic than traditional mirrors (they increase the range by over a kilometer), they require the installation of screens at each end of the dashboard. They make rear vision less fluid, especially when you want to look over your shoulder. Suddenly, I don’t feel at the top of my driving: boring in such aggressive traffic.
Out of the traffic jams, we appreciate performance, muscular but not devastating. In any case, the times on the motorway are very vigorous, and we think we always have enough reserve under the right foot at any speed.
Hyundai produces artificial sounds that are supposed to evoke an engine in action. This is not convincing at all, especially when you hit the accelerator, where they do not seem at all in phase with events. Better to cut them. We then note the excellent isolation of the car from the noise of the road and the passage in the air. The suspension, with long strokes, turns out to be flexible, well aided by the hydraulic silent blocks of the lower arms and its variable damping, even if there is a little too much inopportune trepidation about the bad upholstery.
On the mountain road leading to the North Korean border, 6 proves to be good company. The steering has good consistency, and even when chaining up the quick downforce changes, you feel a pleasantly low center of gravity and a frame ready to spin as long as you keep the front axle well in downforce and put the watts back on properly. . Sure, the Hyundai isn’t as fun as the Tesla Model 3, but it offers sportier sensations than other models using the E-GMP platform.
The Ioniq 6 will be commercialized in 2023, physically but also in an “Ioniq citizenship” metaverse accompanied by specific NFTs designed more to build customer loyalty than to generate revenue. Almost a century after the quirks that inspired its latest creation, Hyundai is giving the genre a new modernity.
Price: from around € 50,000
Two electric motors
Power: 321 CV
Torque: 605 Nm
Four-wheel drive transmission, one gear
Battery: lithium-ion, 77.4 kWh
0-100km / h: 5.1 seconds
Maximum speed: approx. 180 km / h
Range: 519 km