Handsome and fashionably modern: these are the adjectives that come to mind when standing before the Hyundai i40 sedan.
The sharp crease-line on its sides gradually slopes upwards to connect with the sharp LED rear combination lamps.
It seems there’s more function to its form with everything ready for forward motion, including the door handles and the slightly duck-tailed boot lid.
Except, the wheels seem slightly out of place with its rather classic design as opposed to the i40’s modern “perpetually in motion” sheet metal.
The keyless entry system works flawlessly.
Within the cabin, dark would be the operative word; there are silver accents to help brighten the environment, and almost a play of differing shades to tickle the ocular senses.
Closing the doors allows the driver to feel well sealed in, and the combination of smooth leather-wrapped steering, gear knob and dashboard adds that hint of luxury.
With the foot on the brake pedal, pressing the push-start button brings the i40’s Nu 1,999cc GDI or petrol direct injection engine to life.
But before that happens, there’s a little tune that plays to signify the engine’s been started, sort of welcoming the driver.
Fair warning is required though, because the 2.0L engine has plenty of gusto from just a tap and drivers need to know that a little throttle input can go a long way.
Although there’s plenty of surge at low engine speeds, all its 175bhp is produced at a high 6,500rpm, while peak torque of 214Nm is reached far lower at 4,700rpm.
Living with the i40 for a few days produced slight gripes that begins with the overly sensitive throttle, especially in stop-go traffic.
Next would be the welcome tune that made it reminiscent of Korean mobile phones powering up and shutting down. And the car does the same thing when the engine is switched off.
Clearly, the i40’s natural environment isn’t in such traffic conditions, but rather out on less congested roads.
The i40 has a rather firm suspension setup and to some more experienced drivers, it usually means a more sporty drive can be had.
And the i40 can certainly put the “hustle” behind its proverbial “muscle”.
Coming off the line from standstill, the i40 does well to put the power down via its six-speed automatic gearbox.
But because the i40’s 214Nm of torque peaks rather early at 4,700rpm, much of the forward push fades quickly - loosing that sense of urgency and exhilaration and leaving a fair amount of scream from the engine.
At speed, the car feels nicely grounded and refined but putting it though its paces on a winding course is when the i40 come off feeling a tad on the nervous side.
With the car riding on 17-inch rims with 215/50 tyres, there’s plenty of road feel coming back to the motor driven power steering.
Couple that with the firm suspension, which does well to limit pitch and roll and the car seems well set up for some abusive driving.
But we suspect it shouldn’t be long till the car’s host of intrusive passive-safety electronics begin to intervene, which includes electronic stability programme, anti-lock brake system, brake assist system, and vehicle stability management.
The front end just seems burdened by weight and tends to over-work the tyres and that would mean understeer situations.
In short, the i40 comes off almost like a “Jack of all trades”, providing some form of sporty luxury feel for its owner, and allowing for some fun with its paddle-shifters.
But as an all-day everyday mode of transportation, it does well to serve its owner’s whims and wishes.
The i40 sedan offers a host of luxuries. From a six-speaker audio system, electronic parking-brake, sporty pedals, chunky steering wheel, paddle-shifters, roomy interior, panoramic retractable sun roof, automatic HID headlights, rain sensors to a beefy 2.0L petrol engine, it almost seems like a bargain.