• Meet the Le Fil Rouge, Hyundai’s Future Design Language and a Car that Will Never Make it to Production

It’s not ugly, but it’s far from realistic for today’s market

There comes a time when every automaker must reinvent itself, and Hyundai is starting to do just that as it looks to the future. That’s why we’re presented with the Le Fil Rouge Concept. It is said to preview the design language of all future Hyundai vehicles, SUV and car alike, and is considered a “reflection of Hyundai’s belief that its past, present, and future are all connected. All told, it’s a pretty futuristic concept and, while the exterior design could go into production with minimal changes, the interior is just a little too much for today’s market.

What Does Le Fil Rouge Mean?

Meet the Le Fil Rouge, Hyundai's Future Design Language and a Car that Will Never Make it to Production Exterior
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Hyundai claims the translation of Le Fil Rouge is “common thread”

Hyundai claims the translation of Le Fil Rouge is “common thread,” but if you run that phrase through Google or Microsoft’s translator, you’ll get “the red thread” or “the red wire,” respectively. This holds a little more significance than “common thread.” See, “the Red Thread of Fate” or “Red Thread of Marriage” is a belief of destiny. According to the Korean version of the myth, the gods tie a red thread or cord around the little finger of those destined to meet or be together, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. The thread can never break, despite being stretched, tangled, or frayed. In other words, Hyundai is showcasing its very own destiny.

When you first saw the name, it seemed a little random, didn’t it? Now that you know the real meaning being it, it should seem a little more fitting considering the concept is said to be a representation of Hyundai’s future design language. Hyundai may be a little cryptic here, but when you decipher it, it’s clear that this design is Hyundai’s destiny and you could say that we are, indeed, tied to it regardless of place, time, or circumstance. So, in there case, there’s a hell of a lot in the name.

We see what you did there, Hyundai. Not bad; not bad at all.

Hyundai Le Fil Rouge Exterior Design

Meet the Le Fil Rouge, Hyundai's Future Design Language and a Car that Will Never Make it to Production Exterior
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The exterior is dominated by sharp lines, muscular body panels, and a massive pair of wheels

While the name might point towards Hyundai’s Destiny, the design itself, as a whole, might be a little more than we’ll ever see on something that comes from a production line. The exterior is dominated by sharp lines, muscular body panels, and a massive pair of wheels. It has a long body with short overhangs, something Hyundai says makes it more natural. The long hood and short greenhouse give it a sporty appearance, but the lack of headlights or taillights show there’s a lot more work to be done before this design language can hit the production line. The rear does feature a very sporty design, possibly the best design Hyundai has ever showcased. It’s that long, slanted roof and the diffuser-like element on the bottom. It’s almost like Hyundai took a chunk of DNA from every sportscar out there and created one eye-catching design.

Ten years ago, I would shoot someone on sight for using the words “Hyundai” and “Muscle car” in the same sentence, but that’s exactly what this looks like: The Hyundai muscle car of the future. Kudos to you, Hyundai, Kudos to you.

Hyundai Le Fil Rouge Interior Design

Meet the Le Fil Rouge, Hyundai's Future Design Language and a Car that Will Never Make it to Production Interior
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The long center console is reminiscent of something that you would find in a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and the 2+2 configuration means there is tons of legroom.

The Le Fil Rouges interior design is certainly something of the future. We’ve got healthy doses of real wood, leather, and a massive panoramic display that comprises what we must assume is the instrument cluster and infotainment system in one. Hyundai says that it puts “climate control and other vehicle configurations” right in front of the driver. Outside of that Hyundai hasn’t said much else about the interior but we have to admit that it’s quite luxurious. The long center console is reminiscent of something that you would find in a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and the 2+2 configuration means there is tons of legroom.

Chances are most of the layout will never make it into production, but the display screens (even those on the back of the seat) and the general layout could very well be seen in future cars. If Hyundai really wants to take a stab at the luxury market, this interior has the base DNA it needs to really get the job done. Whether or not the brand could tone it down enough to meet the demands of the current market, without spending too much or hampering the overall feeling of spaciousness and relaxation, is another story but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.


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Top Selling Model: Hyundai Elantra

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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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Press release

Hyundai Motor today unveiled the ’Le Fil Rouge’ concept car at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, marking a new beginning for Hyundai design and providing a glimpse of its future design direction. As its name implies, ‘Le Fil Rouge’ (English translation: common thread) is a reflection of Hyundai’s belief that the brand’s past, present and future designs are all connected.

“‘Le Fil Rouge’ is a reinterpretation of Hyundai’s design DNA that originated from the brand’s historical Hyundai Coupe Concept in 1974,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President and head of Hyundai Design Center. “Building on our long history of creating distinctive and sporty character in vehicles, we will open a new era for Hyundai design.”

“Our goal is to build a beloved brand by creating vehicles with heightened emotional value to reshape the landscape of car design. This is the foundation of our concept,” added Sang-yup Lee, Head of Hyundai Styling.

The new concept is an introduction to the brand’s latest approach in design: the ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ theme will be embodied by all future Hyundai vehicles, ranging from sedans to SUVs. The goal of this new theme is to bring instinctive beauty, creating emotional value and desirability in Hyundai vehicles. The design mission is defined by the harmony between four fundamental elements: proportion, architecture, styling and technology.


‘Le Fil Rouge’ creates a proportional character based on the golden-ratio – a common mathematical ratio found in nature – which enabled Hyundai designers to create an aesthetically pleasing, natural-looking composition that embodies charisma. Proportional uniqueness is achieved through a long wheel base, large wheels and short overhangs. A respectful dash-to-axle – the distance from front wheel center to base of windshield – provides a comfortable driving position, whilst a higher beltline completes the overall look.


With ‘Le Fil Rouge’, Hyundai took a new approach called ‘Light Architecture’, to integrate a progressive identity into the brand’s design heritage. Light Architecture generates a dynamic look and forward motion effect for the vehicle. The front and the rear pillars as well as the roof are seamlessly blended into the overarching silhouette of the car - as though the car is drawn with a single line.

The exterior and interior are smoothly merged by the ‘Tube Architecture’, keeping the exterior’s sensuous and sporty character consistent inside the vehicle. The Tube Architecture’s principle is to create the same emotional value inside and outside the vehicle, while also allowing for a lightweight profile.

The interior design differentiates between the needs of both the driver and passengers. The front passenger seat maximises comfort even on long-distance trips with more ample leg room, while the driver’s seat is designed to add to the fun on driving with optimised ergonomics. A wrap-around architecture emphasises depth, creating a calm, spacious and comfortable travel environment for everyone in the car.


Another goal of the team was to create a vehicle that is instantly recognisable as a Hyundai from a distance. This was achieved by creating a sensuous tension on the side through a harmonious blend of layered crisp lines and pure volumes. Concave and convex forms are carefully orchestrated to provide a sexy character. The concept’s distinctive ambience is also recognisable with a wide, layered front hood, combined with a further enhanced Cascading Grille. The next level of the Cascading Grille comes with a three-dimensional treatment, featuring parametric jewels inside, which gives the vehicle a commanding presence.


A core design principle for Hyundai designers was to create a design that enables a seamless experience of function. Inspired by aircraft ventilation, a two-way air ventilation system blows air over the curved surface of lightweight tube architecture. Revitalised wood and high-tech fabrics are used extensively throughout and sculpted into exquisite, sensuous forms. This evokes natural beauty with an emotional touch to add an airy feel to vehicle. Meanwhile, a panoramic floating display coupled with haptic technology sits in front of the driver, providing access to intuitive controls for climate control and other vehicle configurations.

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