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Mike Stevens | Sep 1, 2009

SURFACING ONLINE TODAY, these new images of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata - purportedly the first official photos but more likely to be 'screen grabs' from a promotional video - offer the first decent glimpse of the car in production guise.

Leaving behind the more traditional styling of the current model, the next generation Sonata takes on sharper, more progressive and individual lines. The Korean carmaker, with growing sales in global markets everywhere, is now clearly pushing the brand toward its own unique identity.

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Adopting a coupe-like roofline, the new Sonata's sweeping profile, long, blade-like headlights and tail-lights reaching deep into the body work, combined with a large, prominent grille, will give the new Sonata attention-grabbing lines.

Powertrain options are still unknown, however Hyundai is known to be tooling up its US engine plant in Montgomery to switch production from the current four-cylinder motors to more powerful and more efficient direct-injected petrol engines.

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The new direct-injected mills will likely feature in upcoming versions of the US-market Santa Fe and Sonata with output is expected to be around the 149kW mark - 18kW more than the present port-injected engine.

An up-spec V6 is also likely, and Hyundai has stated that the new Sonata line-up will feature the Korean company’s first mass-market hybrid vehicle; a statement backed up by recent spy photos revealing a hybrid Sonata testing in the US.

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The 2011 Hyundai Sonata will skip next month's Frankfurt Motor Show, the Korean carmaker - now the world's fourth-largest - opting instead to unveil its newest sedan at January's Detroit Motor Show.

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