Meet the man behind the all new i30

What do you do after you’ve won Australia’s Best Cars award six times? You start again. Meet Thomas Buerkle, the man behind the Reinvented i30.

Send to a friend

Rate this page

  • Rate as Helpful0% Helpful votes
  • Rate as Not helpful0% Not helpful votes

Critics and customers alike love the modern, contemporary styling of our new i30. We sat down with Hyundai’s Head of Design Europe, Thomas Buerkle, when he joined Hyundai Australia in May to launch the all new i30.


When it comes to car industry experience, Thomas Buerkle has done it all. His resumé reads like a who’s who of the automotive industry, with his last stint before joining Hyundai in 2005 being with prestige car maker BMW, where he helped to design cars like the iconic 3 Series.

“I was reading about Hyundai and I was understanding the power behind it, and the energy of the company, the willingness and the strengths,” he says of his decision to join Hyundai, gazing over a gorgeous vista across the plains of Albury, just on the NSW/Victorian border (“Can you please take a shot of this?” he asks a photographer walking by.

“I would like to remember it.”). “I was fascinated. And then I decided to make that step.”

Thomas, a tall, quietly spoken man with a kindly face and a reputation for sweating the details, has been busy ever since, working out of Hyundai’s European Technical Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, coordinating design teams from around the world to create cars like the Tucson and the forthcoming Ioniq.

“I'm happy,” he says. “Now looking back, 11 years has passed so fast. And we are at a very interesting stage now.”

The new i30 is a bold, modern design, according to Thomas, and one that captures the very essence of ‘new’ Hyundai.

“We didn’t just want to make a redesign, even though the last car was successful,” he says. “We opened a new chapter.”

“People are surprised,” he says of the reaction to the new i30. “We surprised the industry, and we are the unexpected, and I like that.”

He points to the grille of the i30 parked near where we’re sitting. “All the lines start here,” he says, drawing his hand up over the bonnet and roof.

“The long bonnet and low nose give the car more pride,” he says, “and the car is quite imposing, not shy. Imagine molten steel coming out of our own steel foundry. It represents the company’s ability to forge its own future.”

PD i30 Image 2

It’s not just the external design that Thomas oversees. The interior of the new i30 is all new, and its clean, modern appearance combined with clever and thoughtful touches is the result of many thousands of hours of work.

“We took care of the parts where the human body touches all the time,” he says. “Seat ergonomics, for example, were a big project for us.”

I ask him what it’s like to see the first completed i30 up close and in the metal.

“It’s as if a baby is born,” he confesses, beaming. “It's like that. When you work so hard, and so many ideas go in the bin, while others survive. Competition between designers, showing the work to the vice chairman and CEOs, design chiefs...

“A lot of work. A lot of travelling. A lot of discussion. And then you see a car and you drive it… Fantastic.”

PD i30 Image 4

The Reinvented i30 features a load of fantastic new features and accessories.

Choose from three powerful engines that have been developed to maximise driving pleasure. These include:

• 120kW 2.0 GDi (for everyday drivability)
• 100kW 1.6 turbo diesel (for diesel performance)
• 150kW 1.6 turbo petrol (for petrol performance)

Satellite navigation and DAB+ Digital Radio is now standard, with an all-new interface supporting split-screen display with multimedia information and SUNA live traffic updates.

Hyundai SmartSense active safety features eight technologies to alert you of dangers around you, including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW).

Wireless charging is available through a centre console pad (Qi standard), allowing users with compatible Qi-enabled smartphones to charge without the use of messy cables. For other devices, you can purchase a third-party Qi-enabled accessory to support use.

The exterior boasts Hyundai’s signature new feature, the Cascading grille, as well as full LED front lighting, panoramic glass sunroof and twin-tip exhaust. The interior includes steering wheel mounted controls, USB and AUX connectivity and heated and ventilated front seats for maximum comfort.

It all adds up to a vehicle that is stunning to see and thrilling to drive, with safety and beauty always at the fore.

PD i30 Image 3
What is your favourite feature on the Reinvented i30?

This poll is closed.

Total Votes: 0

  • Cascading front grille
  • Choice between three powerful engines including i20kW GDi and 150kW Turbo
  • Satellite navigation and DAB+ Digital Radio now standard
  • Hyundai SmartSense advance safety
  • Wireless charging (Qi standard)
  • Panoramic glass sunroof