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Kia will turn the Imagine concept into its "emotional flagship"

by Ronan Glon

The concept's exterior design won't change much as it transitions to production.

Hyundai isn't the only company planning to make major changes to its design language in the coming years. Sister company Kia has confirmed the Imagine concept (pictured) it unveiled during the 2019 Geneva auto show will push the styling envelope as it transitions into a production model over the coming years.

"I believe we will see a completely new diversification of typologies. This car hybridizes between a typical fastback five-door coupe architecture and an SUV, finding its own identity," explained Kia chief designer Luc Donkerwolke in an interview with British magazine Auto Express.

He added turning a head-turning concept car like the Imagine into a car consumers can buy takes about three years; it's a real design study, not a launch-ready production model fitted with cameras instead of mirrors and big wheels to pass as a concept. Some aspects of the car will inevitably change during the process -- don't expect the suicide doors to make it to production, for example -- but the shape, the proportions, and key design details will remain with only minor tweaks. Donkerwolke described the production model as an "emotional flagship" for Kia.

"I don't see anything that's really not feasible. There are some cost-related issues that have to be validated; it hasn't been done by designers who don't understand how to build a car for production," he summed up. It's a different story inside. We can't imagine the 21-screen infotainment system making it beyond the concept stage.

The production version of the Imagine will ride on a new platform that's being developed solely to underpin electric cars. Other Kia and Hyundai models will use it, too. Additional technical details remain under wraps, but the South Korean group will give us a taste of the platform's flexibility by unveiling additional show cars over the coming months.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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