It's not hard to guess which one.
It all started with the overseas-only Hyundai i30 N. Then the new Veloster N debuted over a year ago and the South Korean automaker has now set its sights on yet another popular hot hatch: the Volkswagen Golf R. According to Australia’s Cars Guide, Hyundai is keen to launch an all-wheel-drive hot hatch that will sit alongside the front-wheel-drive i30 N in the lineup. The Veloster N is also FWD but we don’t know yet whether there are plans to bring the new addition stateside.
What we do know is that the AWD Kona crossover’s rear axle and suspension design is fully compatible with the i30. Hyundai also told us back in early 2018 at the latest Veloster’s reveal that AWD was mechanically possible, but made no commitment.
Furthermore, recently appointed head of Hyundai R&D, Albert Biermann, has made his preference for AWD on several occasions. And thanks to platform sharing, incorporating AWD to vehicles such as the i30 and Veloster is totally doable.
At the moment, the i30 N and Veloster N are formidable Golf GTI foes. Both Hyundais and the VW are powered by turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, with around 275 hp and 228 hp, respectively. The Golf R, meanwhile, has 288 hp. The next-generation Golf is only a few months away but it’ll probably be a bit more time until the next (and more powerful) GTI and R models appear.
But this is an opportunity for Hyundai’s N division to make a move. Hyundai also recently poached Tyrone Johnson, former chief engineer of the Focus RS, from Ford. He knows a thing or two about AWD. Combined with Ford’s departure from the traditional car market in North America and Europe’s continued desire for both FWD and AWD hot hatches, Hyundai's next move is pretty clear. All we’re waiting for is an official statement.