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Hyundai's Ioniq 6 made its North American debut at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show.Jason Tchir/The Globe and Mail

With a streamlined design inspired by dolphins, Hyundai’s new all-electric Ioniq 6 sedan gets more range than the Ioniq 5 on the same engine and battery.

“It gets 100 kilometres more range than the Ioniq 5 just from aerodynamics,” said Simon Loasby, head of Hyundai Style Group. “The sedan has become a streamliner – that was our pet name for the project.”

Set to be launched here in the spring, the 2023 Ioniq 6, which had its North American reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, is a sleek four-door EV sedan.

Equipped with a 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery, the Ioniq 6 will arrive with two versions – a single-motor, 221-horsepower front-wheel-drive version boasting a claimed range of 546 kilometres and a 320-horsepower dual-motor all-wheel-drive version with 499 kilometres of range.

That front-wheel drive range is based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates. But it gets more than 610 kilometres in European WLTP tests – 100 more than the boxier Ioniq 5.

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The interior is similar to the Ioniq 5, with two 12.3-inch LED screens.Jason Tchir/The Globe and Mail

Like the Ioniq 5, the 6 can charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes at a 350-kilowatt DC fast charger – that means you can add up to 100 kilometres of range in five minutes, Hyundai said.

When plugged into a Level 2 charger, it should be fully charged in just over 7 hours. You’ll also be able to use the car to charge other devices, like scooters, Hyundai said.

With long, clean lines and a roofline that curves all the way to the tail, the Ioniq 6 has a 0.22 drag coefficient – compared to the Ioniq 5′s 0.29.

It’s the most aerodynamic car Hyundai has ever built and one of the most aerodynamic production cars – the $146,000 Mercedes EQS is the world’s most aerodynamic production car with a 0.2 rating.

The whole point of the design was to reduce air resistance, Loasby said.

“We looked at nature – dolphins, sharks and peregrine falcons – that’s where we got this long, single curve,” he said.

The designers wanted it to make it even longer for lower resistance – but then it wouldn’t fit on Hyundai’s production line.

Like the Ioniq 5, it features recessed door handles, but that’s really where the similarities end. The rear spoiler, with curves inspired by the Second World War-era Spitfire fighter plane, is topped with a transparent panel that serves as the brake light.

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The single motor version has a claimed range of 546 km.Jason Tchir/The Globe and Mail

The front and rear LED signal lights are built of little boxes that Hyundai calls pixels. The symbols are repeated inside and out. The point is to make the Ioniq 6 distinct, although Loasby said he’s seen other car makers start to use them since the Ioniq 6′s launch.

Inside, the car has the same basic layout as the Ioniq 5 – with two 12.3-inch LED screens – but it looks more polished.

To give the driver more room and to incorporate LED backlights into the doors, Hyundai moved the window and lock switches to the centre console. They look a little clunky there.

In the back, there’s plenty of legroom, but with the sloped sedan roof, headroom will be tight for anyone over 6 feet.

Inside, Hyundai uses recycled plastics from water bottles and the carpet uses fibres from recycled fishing nets.

It will have wireless phone charging and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It’s Hyundai’s first car to accept over-the-air software updates – a feature that will be rolling out to other Hyundai vehicles.

With a sedan, Hyundai is taking aim at the Tesla Model 3.

“We look at everybody that’s out there doing well and ask ‘What do we do to be competitive and overtake? Do we need an SUV?” Loasby asked. “Gen Z doesn’t buy the same car as their folks are driving. Maybe there’s some lethargy around SUVs.”

That said, the Ioniq 7, expected to be revealed in 2024, will be a three row-SUV – when naming its Ioniq EVs, Hyundai uses even numbers for cars and odd for SUVs.

The price hasn’t been announced, but Hyundai said it will likely be close to the Ioniq 5 – which starts at nearly $55,000 for the 77-kilowatt-hour front-wheel-drive version.

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The front and rear LED signal lights are built out of little boxes that Hyundai calls pixels.Jason Tchir/The Globe and Mail

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

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