When Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the Hyundai Pony Coupé, presented by his Italdesign at the Turin Motor Show in 1974, he certainly could never have imagined that forty-five years on his styling research would be the inspiration for a concept car, the 45, with which the Korean manufacturer aims to open a new chapter in its history, a chapter dedicated to electric propulsion.
“Maestro Giugiaro was able to craft that concept in total freedom, the same freedom we enjoyed in taking our Dna into a new dimension. A heritage transported into the future on an EV platform”, says SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President heading up Hyundai design. We met him in Frankfurt on the eve of the Show, together with his project team, to sneak a preview of what proved to be one of the most interesting and significant concept cars not only of the German exhibition, but in the whole of 2019.
According to SangYup Lee, the projection of these reminiscences of the Seventies into a new era of mobility can be seen in the multi-faceted surfaces of the fastback silhouette of the 45, particularly in what the Korean designer calls “45 design clues”, “in the diagonal lines that in many cases really do form 45 degree angles, as in the front pillar and especially in the tail, although in very contemporary interpretations”. Details that accentuate the dynamic values of the silhouette, skilfully managed to mask the thickness of the platform where the batteries are housed, in an evolution of the Hyundai design philosophy Sensuous Sportiness.
“We continue to develop the conversation that began with the Fil Rouge, the concept car we presented last year in Geneva”, SangYup Lee goes on, aware of the surprise created by the 45, with its features so different from the other cars currently produced by the Korean brand. The front view and tail are very slanted and he makes no secret of the fact that this is the new face of a future electric model, but not of all Hyundai electric cars.
Electric propulsion thus becomes a new starting point: since a real grille is no longer needed, the 45 reinterprets the lattice grille of the Pony Coupé in a strip of tiny lights that end in a re-evocation of the double round headlights. A treatment that is also repeated on the tail, while under the door a strip of Leds tells the driver how much battery he has left before he even boards the car.
While the exterior would appear to be close to an upcoming production model, the interior looks much more futuristic but no less alluring, “a very special ambience, while the exterior is a tribute to the Pony here you will find the same spirit but as expressed by the digital era. So we talk about “digilogue”, analogue combined with digital, to create something very emotional and at the same time very hi-tech, a combination of yin and yang, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.