Earlier this week, we saw official sketches of the upcoming facelift for the current seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata, and here’s a supposedly leaked image of the car, released by Hyundai-Blog.com. In any case, the features match those seen in the sketches, and should be a good preview of what’s to come.

Cars always look the best in sketches – they always have an aggressive stance and perfect proportions in a designer’s mind. Like social media profile pics however, they don’t always look 100% like that in real life, and that’s the case here.

The Sonata’s new face is very similar to the new family look seen on the new i30. There’s a new full height “Cascading Grille”, reshaped headlights and inner elements, and larger side air inlets with what appear to be vertical LED daytime running lights. The bonnet also features two extra strakes on the centre section.

The leaked image is of the regular Sonata. A more aggressive variation of the new face is reserved for the range topping Sonata Turbo performance variant, as seen in the sketches.

The sketches also show us a big makeover in the D-segment sedan’s rear design. Apparent are slimmer tail lights featuring Lamborghini-style arrow-shaped signatures, a number plate recess relocated to the bumper and a wider rear valence for a sportier stance. The space left by the number plate features the “Sonata” logotype. The Turbo variant gets a rear diffuser with quad tailpipes.

It’s quite a big facelift for the three-year old Sonata LF, and this could be due to lukewarm reception to the current car’s more reserved “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” sheetmetal. While not as radical as the previous-gen YF, it’s a handsome big car that appears rather formal. Perhaps a little too formal to some. Toyota would think so – just look at the hyper-aggressive new USDM Camry.

Mechanical upgrades expected to be introduced include an eight-speed automatic gearbox to improve performance and efficiency, along with a new 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the Sport model, derived from the upcoming i30 N hot hatch. The motor is expected to produce over 260 hp, slightly more than the current 245 hp/352 Nm Theta II turbo GDI engine.

GALLERY: Current Hyundai Sonata LF