Hyundai 45 Concept harks back to brand's history

Published: 10 September 2019

► Angular concept celebrates... the 1974 Hyundai Pony?
► Lounge-inspired cabin packed with autonomous tech
► Electric powertrain should surprise no-one

Hyundai’s latest concept car, unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show looks towards the brand’s future and celebrates its past all in one fell swoop. The 45 concept pays homage to Hyundai’s 1974 Pony Coupe Concept – the car that would go on to become its first-ever volume-produced model.

Unlike many concepts unveiled in the last few years, Hyundai admits this is a pure styling and direction exercise rather than a thinly-veiled production car.

Looks quite striking…

2019 Hyundai 45 Concept, rear three quarter

Though teaser images gave the impression of a hatchback, the Concept 45 is more akin to a crossover with its vast wheels, pronounced wheelarches and high windowline. The fastback shape harks back to the Pony Coupe Concept, as do the car’s sharp angles and quad headlight graphics.

Hyundai says that the 45 name not only harks back to the 45 years since the Pony, but the 45-degree angles at the front and rear, giving it a diamond-shaped profile.

It’s all part of the brand’s vomit-inducingly named ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design language, all aimed at producing a sleek and instantly recognisable set of design details to characterise future Hyundais.

What’s under the skin?

This isn’t a production model so Hyundai’s under no pressure to make realistic claims about its underpinnings. However, as is in vogue, it’s an all-electric powertrain riding on a ‘skateboard’ chassis that positions the batteries low in the body for greater stability.

The real benefit, though, is that it gives a totally flat floor, allowing Hyundai to outfit the interior as a ‘living space’ – as befits the 45’s nature as a fully autonomous vehicle.

2019 Hyundai 45 concept, interior

Twin sliding doors open opposed to each other to leave plenty of space to clamber in, and once inside there’s an ‘inviting fusion of wood, fabric and leather’ plus a domestic-style carpet. Front seats swivel to face the rear for a more convivial environment, and if the driver wishes to actually drive they’ll be presented with information via an ultra-wide ‘projection beam’ screen setup.

Any other fun features?

The 45 is packed with smart little touches that may make it to production on other Hyundai models in future. The side mirrors have been replaced by cameras, with the lenses rotating past a brush to ensure they’re kept clean at all times.

2019 Hyundai 45 Concept, side profile

A light bar on the door sill shows state of charge before the driver even steps into the vehicle, while the car’s seats swivel towards occupants to make ingress and egress easier. Light and space has been considered throughout, with a bright headlining and transparent door bins.

Will it ever see production?

Unlikely. But features of the concept could make their way onto production models, and the design is likely to influence future Hyundais.

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By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches