It may look like a Veloster N, but this is a very different animal.
No longer content with just being a maker of sensible family sedans and SUVs, Hyundai is clearly serious about being perceived as a brand that builds exciting performance cars, too. We've already got the Veloster N and, in overseas markets, the i30 N hatchback has been widely praised. Now, according to a spy photo first published by Bobaedream, an entirely different beast seems to be in the works. Sporting the bold lettering MR23T, what you see here is a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive hatchback, according to a report from The Korean Car Blog.
It's wrapped in a beefed-up body of a Veloster N (which, by contrast, drives the front wheels) and is allegedly powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine. More than this, the prototype boasts an electric motor with another 80 hp. Total output is expected to be in the region of 390 horsepower.
We have little reason to doubt these numbers because late last year, the dramatic RM19 prototype was revealed (RM = Racing Midship), also sporting a midship powertrain and 390 horsepower. Back then, Hyundai was already considering adding electric components, no doubt taking advantage of its partnership with Croatian electric carmaker Rimac. This MR23T appears to be one of the first creations between the two marques.
With regular N-branded Hyundai models making use of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot (producing up to 275 hp in the case of the Veloster N), the more powerful MR23T could take over the mantle of the brand's elite performance car. Despite the hybrid powertrain being wrapped in the Veloster's body, we anticipate that the production version will have a unique look to set it apart from other Hyundais.
When the RM19 was unveiled last year, Hyundai said it expected the hyper hatch to reach 60 mph in under four seconds. At the time, Hyundai said "in addition to the gasoline version, state-of-the-art electrified powertrains could provide clean, yet thrilling propulsion for the RM19." That was just over four months ago, and it looks like Hyundai has been hard at work since then. With the MR23T's similar outputs and hybrid powertrain, it's likely to be just as quick, if not faster, than the RM19.
Right now, we don't know when the MR23T will be revealed in its final form but when it does, it's likely to be Hyundai's most impressive performance offering to date. Watch out, Volkswagen and Honda.