Hyundai has unveiled the newest member of the Ioniq family – the 6. It’s the size of an executive sedan and features a distinctive design unlike any other production-spec EV sedan on the market today.
The keyword used by Hyundai to accurately describe the overall shape of the Ioniq 6 is hard to argue with — streamlined. The brand’s design team took inspiration from the streamliners of the 1920s and 1930s when automotive designs had only just begun understanding the potential application of aerodynamics for land vehicles. The Ioniq 6 takes significant inspiration from the Prophecy concept but that was a sporty coupe while this is more sports sedan.
The single curve aero profile of the Ioniq 6 is tallest at the front end of the cabin and slopes to the ducktail spoiler at the rear. However, the rear slope is interrupted by a fixed spoiler design to avoid making the car look more like a banana than a streamliner. In fact, the profile is reminiscent of the old-school Mercedes Benz CLS, and that’s a good thing.
Hyundai’s quirky design for the Ioniq 6 is driven by function. The fixed rear spoiler and the ducktail spoiler along the boot line help improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the EV while also offering rear-end grip for better driving dynamics. The front end sits low, but the smooth surfaces don’t make it look uncharacteristically aggressive. Other minute details include the extended strips of cladding in the front wheel well that reduce the wheel-arch gap without having to compromise on ride height. The conventional wing mirrors will be replaced by cleverly designed cameras where the markets allow for them.
The end result of this streamliner design philosophy is that the Ioniq 6 has a mightly low drag coefficient of just 0.21. It doesn’t even get any specialised aero-optimised discs for those 20-inch wheels.
Other cool design details on the Ioniq 6 are the pixelated lights, the same as the Ioniq 5. It has those pixel lights in the headlamps and the taillights that span the width of the rear end are made entirely of pixels too. The fixed spoiler also has pixel-shaped LEDs which are part of the taillight animations too. The Ioniq 6 has a special design detail paying homage to the Prophecy concept, the vertically oriented rear fog lamps and reversing lights integrated into the diffuser design of the rear bumper. These lights are also shaped like parametric pixels. In total, there are over 700 pixels on the exterior and interior of the Ioniq 6.
The front-end design has no grille aspect with black strips that house the sensors and cameras. Its bottom half has two active flaps that open or close depending on how much cooling is needed for the powertrain. Between them are six pixels lined up that show the charge level when the Ioniq 6 is plugged in to replenish the battery. The air intakes on either end of the front bumper help direct air through to the front wheel wells.
There are more pixel design details on the front door handles as well which sit flush in the bodywork and pop out when the door is approached.
The roofline of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is deceptively low. The carmaker has managed to open up an impressive amount of headroom inside the cabin, especially in the rear seats. Hyundai uses a lot of eco-conscious materials for the interiors such as recycled PET fabric for the seats, bio PET fabric for the headliner, and recycled fishing net for the carpets. The leather-like material for the premium seats is also made from eco-friendly processes.
Inside the cabin, we start seeing more similarities between the Ioniq 6 and the Ioniq 5. It has the same integrated dual-screen setup with two 12.3-inch displays for the infotainment system and the digital gauge cluster. As a sporty sedan, it offers more of a cocooned experience for the driver. The central console tunnel sits at arm’s height and houses the controls for the windows and central door locking. There’s a storage area below the bridge-like console. The haptic touch panel just below the central AC vents has climate controls, USB ports, and other vehicular controls. Hyundai found a cool design solution for housing the smaller screens that come with the rearview cameras, integrating them into the corners of the dashboard using a raised winglet design. This detail also gives the cabin some sort of space-age aesthetic.
The steering wheel does not feature the updated Hyundai logo. Instead, it has more pixels, just four this time, to indicate the level of charge left. It also has familiar switchgear around it from the Ioniq 5 which has a pleasant tactile finish. The 64-colour ambient lighting can flash different colours to indicate different alerts for the occupants. The front door cards of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 are like art with their speakers and backlit ridged surfaces. In an unusual move, the storage compartments on the doors are made of translucent plastic allowing you to see what’s in them. The rear door cards have the window controls in the armrests but also get beautifully sculpted housing for the speakers.
Under its flat floors, the Ioniq 6 is underpinned by the same E-GMP platform as the Ioniq 5. Even though Hyundai has not stated any performance or technical specifications, we expect it to share many components with its Ioniq sibling. The Hyundai EV sedan is likely to be offered with multiple battery pack options, ranging from 58kWh to 77.4kWh. Each battery pack may get the choice of single motor rear-wheel-drive and dual motor all-wheel-drive. The Ioniq 6 should have the same charging capacity too with an 800V infrastructure, capable of up to 350kW of fast charging.
As a sportier offering than the Ioniq 5, the Ioniq 6 should offer more performance at the top end. It might even pack more punch than the top-spec Kia EV6 GT whose output is rated at 577hp and 740Nm. The EV6 is the sporty crossover cousin to the Ioniq 5, also based on the E-GMP platform. While the Ioniq 5 has a maximum claimed range of 481km, the Ioniq 6 should easily be able to promise around 550km per charge, thanks to its slippery profile.
In terms of size and sportiness, the Ioniq 6 slots in somewhere between the Tesla Model 3 and Model S. It might even be a more affordable alternative to something like the BMW i4. One thing that is certain, is that the Ioniq 6 stands out in a crowd with its love-it-or-hate-it looks while also offering an impressive electric powertrain. It’s a smoothened pebble in a sea of melting soap bars that are the current trend of EV sedans.
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