The Hyundai N division might be a latecomer in the performance car game, but it is fast developing a reputation for itself with formidable hot hatches like the i30 N and i20 N, while also dipping its toes in the SUV game recently with the Kona N.
But with the world moving towards electrification, it’s inevitable that the performance models will follow and that could happen sooner rather than later for Hyundai N.
Hyundai’s marketing boss Thomas Schemera hinted this at the recent Kona N global debut. According to GoAuto, Schemera – while referring to the 600kW RM20e prototype that was revealed last year – said there is “something in the pipeline not too far down the road”.
“Maybe it rings a bell if you think about our e-GMP, our electric global modular platform, this shows a lot of potential and a lot of flexibility, so stay tuned.”
This e-GMP architecture has so far only spawned the Ioniq 5, a wedge-shaped midsize crossover-hatch that harks back to the Hyundai Pony of the 1970s, but it will soon spawn a battery-powered sedan called the Ioniq 6 and a large SUV named Ioniq 7.
It remains to be seen whether the N division’s first performance model will be based around the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 – or even another model that has yet to be revealed. But it will certainly be powerful. When revealing its e-GMP architecture last year, Hyundai said that vehicles based on this platform could produce up to 450 kW. The Kia EV6 that’s also underpinned by this platform, comes rather close with its 430 kW flagship model, while the most powerful Hyundai Ioniq 5 is good for 225 kW and 605 Nm, and a 5.2 second 0-100km/h sprint. That is already on the ‘warm’ side of things, but Hyundai will clearly be aiming higher than that with its first battery-powered N model.
The petrol-powered N models, meanwhile, are likely to stick around for as long as there’s demand for them – and the ability to meet constantly evolving emissions standards.
Of course, the N division could also look at hybrid models built on its conventional platforms to help bridge the gap.
In 2019 Autocar reported that Hyundai was considering a high-performance ‘halo’ model powered by an all-wheel drive hybrid drivetrain.
“Conventional four-wheel drive is an option for the [halo] car, but it is very old technology,” Hyundai executive Gyoo-Heon Choi told Autocar. “I would prefer to think about a front-engined hybridised platform with a rear-mounted electric motor; it’s an appealing direction for us.”
Whether this halo model is still in the works remains to be seen, but either way it seems certain that Hyundai’s N division has some enticing electrified products in the pipeline.