If international reviews are anything to go by, Hyundai’s performance division is off to quite the start with its i30 and Veloster N models. It also looks as though the brand will be expanding its line-up, with with the inclusion of a mid-engined model simply titled the 'Hyundai N'.
According to information sourced by Top Gear UK, Hyundai N’s current division head, Albert Biermann, says that work is being undertaken on a mid-engined sportscar prototype but no decision has been made as to whether it will see production.
Should a mid-engined model be produced, it’s likely to be more of a bespoke car rather than a mainstream Hyundai that’s been fettled to make it faster. Regardless, there’s a belief that the entire Hyundai line-up is strong enough to make it into the N division. A camouflaged i30N Fastback has been spotted testing at the Nurburgring and Biermann also claims that a performance SUV is on the cards.
Previously, Hyundai has released mid-engined concepts such as the Veloster-based RM project, of which three generations exist, with the latest being the RM16; a car that has been spotted testing in public on several occasions.
Speaking about the degree of freedom he's afforded at Hyundai compared to his days at BMW M, Biermann states “my degree of freedom here is much bigger than at BMW… Now M badges go everywhere in the BMW range, but when I was there I had to fight like crazy for every car. Here I am more than welcome to do whatever I think we need to do.”
According to Biermann, Hyundai N won't be rushed into producing a halo sports car is not going to happen anytime soon, as the division is still young and there are fears that diversifying too quickly will result in inferior products. “Spreading out too many cars too fast is not the right thing. If we started with a bespoke car in the first place, people would have no idea what to do with such a car', he says.
Fairly new to the Hyundai N division is Thomas Schemera, who previously worked with Biermann at BMW M for almost a decade. He says that Hyundai N cannot be compared to the likes of BMW M and Mercedes-AMG at this point, but they do see a future where the programme might rival the top German brands.
“Yeah. We are not on the way to copy and paste, we are finding our own way. We don’t try to copy AMG, BMW or Porsche. Maybe in the future we have a brilliant idea to compete with them in one or two segments. Maybe in three or four years the strategy will change and we will compete with the big boys. Anything is possible. You won’t believe what we are capable of.” Schemera says.