A soft day for a first sighting.
Editor’s note: This piece was written and first published on DTW in August 2018. All images via the author.
While the remainder of Europe desiccates amidst the most protracted heatwave of recent times, here at that question mark of a landmass at the Atlantic’s cusp, a more habitual form of summer has returned: Leaden skies, horizontal mist and high humidity.
But you didn’t come here to obtain a weather report – there are better places for that sort of thing. But it does go some way to explain the ambient conditions for today’s set of photos, taken in the fine city of Cork, itself no stranger to regular and persistent precipitation.
About a year ago, we reported on the announcement of the Hyundai i30 Fastback, a more rakish, coupé variant of the i30 hatchback. Not that the regular i30 is anything but screamingly normative in a sector which is defined by its utter torpidity, but as we pointed out at the time, it nonetheless is a welcome development on the Korean carmaker’s part to offer something more, how shall we say, urbane?
Today, manfully braving the summer rain for your edification and amusement, I received my first sighting of an i30 Fastback in the wild, if indeed the Western end of Cork’s city centre can be characterised as such. It’s a strikingly handsome car, I have to admit; more so than photos (my rather sodden attempts) and other, more professionally reproduced images or essays might suggest.
Because if the regular i30 hatchback’s styling places the stable genius of Carlsbad’s current works into the sharpest and most unflattering of reliefs, the fastback positively stomps on the Neu-A’s spectacles, simply for the sheer crashing irony of it all. And because it can.
Frankly, this is (unsightly bonnet shutline aside) one very accomplished design – one which would not have looked out of place in the line-up of any German so-called premium stable, had they not stampeded as one towards the baroque lounge. The irony of course is that none of the German marques, premium or otherwise, design cars as calm and clean-limbed as this now. Parked up a few metres away coincidentally, was a new-generation Polo and the difference (and inferiority) in approach was almost embarrassingly palpable.
“I Care About Lines” trumpets Hyundai’s marketing blurb for the i30 Fastback and frankly, viewing this example parked in natural (if somewhat diffused) light, one can more or less concur. Hyundai’s designers, under the assured creative leadership of Peter Schreyer clearly do. Their German big-three counterparts however by comparison, (and the studio where Schreyer cut his stylistic teeth in particular), quite clearly do not.