First step already done: hire away BMW M's VP of engineering.
Hyundai is dead set on its upcoming N performance brand, as we’ve just been reminded of regarding the upcoming Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI rivaling i30 N hot hatch. Led by former BMW M boss, Albert Biermann, plans for the N division are vast and, according to Australia’s Drive, include plans for an eventual performance version of the Tucson SUV crossover. "Right now there are no limitations," Biermann stated during a recent i30N prototype pre-drive event Down Under.
“We started with the C segment and the Fastback will follow and we are already working on some other concepts for the B segment (Accent) and SUV also. Right now we are open.” That SUV he’s referring to is the Tucson. “If you look at the Tucson today it is very relaxed, very comfortable to drive, but to have an N version requires lots of power, nice transmission, nice handling, sportier tires and lowered body,” Biermann said. “We have a good platform with the Tucson to make a high-performance SUV.” Biermann is the right man to make this happen, taking into account his three decades of experience at BMW, where he also led the development of its high-performance SUVs, such as the X5 M.
He’s now been tasked by Hyundai to do the same for its lineup, and after we met Biermann ourselves at Detroit last January and witnessed first-hand his enthusiasm, it’s clear he’ll deliver the goods. Now that he’s wrapped up work on the new Kia Stinger, Biermann’s full focus is on the growing N division, and after the i30 hot hatch arrives, don’t be surprised to see an N-badged Tucson caught testing on the Nurburgring.