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by Tim Beissmann

After teasing us with a sketch last week, Hyundai has this morning released the first photo of the radical Hyundai i-flow concept ahead of its debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.

Previewing a future mid-sized sedan aimed at the European market, the i-flow represents an evolution of Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design language with sleek lines and a futuristic appearance, manifested in an impressive 0.25 Cd drag coefficient.

Powered by Hyundai’s first diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, the i-flow combines the new “U2” 1.7-litre engine (augmented with two-stage turbocharging) with lithium ion-polymer battery technology.

Coupled with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, fuel consumption is remarkable at just 3.0 litres/100km while CO2 emissions are equally impressive at 85g/km.

Chemical company BASF has helped develop the eco-friendly liquid metal paint with special effect pigments which adds to the concept’s flowing appearance.

BASF also contributed to the development of interior components, such as the seats and centre console, which have been designed to minimise weight and maximise spaciousness.

But the i-flow’s interior showpiece is the expansive contoured screen which recognises gestural inputs as well as touch all along its facia-wide display.

The Hyundai i-flow concept will be among the stars of the Geneva Motor Show when it debuts on March 2 alongside fellow environmental crusader, the ix35 FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle), which is due for full-scale production is 2012.