Hyundai's performance division wants to seriously up its game.
After leaving his role as head of BMW's M division, Albert Biermann joined Hyundai in 2015 to create the high-performance N division. Hyundai wasn't renowned for its performance cars at the time, but the Hyundai Veloster N transformed the brand. Nobody expected Hyundai to build a true hot hatchback that could rival established competitors like the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Looking ahead, Hyundai has huge ambitions for the N performance division. Speaking to Evo, Biermann hinted that Hyundai N could build a new mid-engined sports car to rival Porsche. "All N cars need to be sensibly priced relative to whatever rivals they are in competition with. But as you'll see in the near future, there are no specific financial limits to what kind of cars we will make," said Biermann.
"If I think it's the right time to make a mid-engined N car that can rival a Porsche, and when we think it's the right time to make that car, we will make it. It's that simple. Maybe the powertrain might be a bit different to a conventional Porsche's, but philosophically there are no limits. As I say, we really are just at the beginning." This wouldn't be the first time Hyundai N has built a mid-engine car, however.
Last November, the performance division presented the RM19, a mid-engine prototype with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine producing 390 horsepower, which is sent through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
This setup enables the RM19 to rocket from 0-62 mph in less than four seconds and top out at over 155 mph. Judging from Biermann's comments, the RM19 could preview Hyundai's future answer to the Porsche 718 Cayman.
Biermann also admitted that sales for Hyundai N cars have exceeded sales expectations. "A few months ago we realized the i30 N accounted for 28 percent of all i30 sales in Germany last year. I was absolutely amazed, especially considering what the original sales forecasts for the N cars were. Yesterday I was told it's now 34 percent. That's incredible." Clearly, the future is looking bright for Hyundai N. We can't wait to see what 2020 holds for the performance division.