Curvy concept is a ... Hyundai?

ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL, THE PROPHECY ALLUDES TO A NEW DESIGN DIRECTION FROM KOREA

TRENT GIUNCO

BOLD CLAIMS are common in the automotive industry. Hyundai has stepped this up a notch by naming its sleek electric concept the ‘Prophecy’. Seems like a lot of pressure for a design exercise that is unlikely to ever see production – at least not in full.

What the sleek and sexy four-door coupe does offer is an insight into how the Korean maker’s next generation of EVs and autonomous cars might look. Given that seems to be a mashup of a retro Saab and a modern 911, mark us down as interested. But don’t dismiss this as pure fantasy; some elements should make their way into production Hyundais.

Expect to see details like the pixelated light clusters (front, rear and spoiler) filter through to Hyundai’s road-car range as character-defining styling traits. We’d also love to see those distinctive vertical brake lights appear on a production car, and fingers crossed that futuristic cabin design might inject some visual interest into the next-gen i30 et al.

What won’t carry over is the cabin’s layout. Keen eyes will spy there’s no steering wheel, with direction changes instead taken care of by a pair of joysticks on either side of the driver’s seat. Hyundai claims the lack of a wheel makes the Prophecy safer in an accident, and it also allows the cabin to be reconfigured into a ‘Relax’ mode with a lounge-like feel.

Another interesting innovation is found in external intakes located in the bottom of the doors which allow air to circulate through a purifier before being channelled into the cabin, which should prove useful in polluted urban environments. Treated air from within the cabin is then returned to the atmosphere.

Powertrain details are scarce, though predictably the Prophecy is electric. Battery size and outputs are unknown, while mounting the batteries below the floor has allowed for a prominent air intake below the front bumper. This also is said to lead to higher efficiency given the power cells can be cooled more effectively.

This is the second striking concept from Hyundai in recent times, though the Prophecy is the polar opposite of last year’s angular 45 concept. Its striking silhouette, sensuous curves and handsome proportions deliver a slippery drag coefficient, while the Prophecy’s short overhangs and sloping roof and belt lines add to the aesthetic presence. It’s minimalist design at its best.

The propeller shapes in the wheels aid aero efficiency by drawing air in, which then flows down the side of the body like “water over a stone”.

The integrated rear spoiler helps to generate downforce.

Hyundai’s vision of the future shows the giant is willing to take bold steps in terms of styling as it gears up to make the move to electric-vehicle platforms.

TRENT GIUNCO