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Would Hyundai Be Crazy To Give The Sonata A Sporty N Version?

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What other models could get the N treatment?

We still have no idea what to expect from Hyundai's N performance brand. So far, we only know about the i30 N hot hatch, which still hasn't been confirmed for the US. It seems odd that the first product that the N brand is working on would be a hatchback, but that doesn't mean there won't be plenty more N models. Speaking with Motoring, Peter Schreyer, head of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis design studios, said that the N brand will be able to expand far and wide. Could we end up seeing Hyundai, Genesis and Kia models all with N performance variants?

Hyundai just revealed the 2018 Sonata at the New York Auto Show and when asked about a possible N version, Schreyer didn't shoot down the idea. "It's not planned at the moment but theoretically I could imagine it yes," said Schreyer, "It would be fun to do," he added. It seems like the N brand won't be a M or AMG competitor like we initially thought, at least for the Hyundai brand. Schreyer even said that "At the moment it's a select group of cars [that get high-performance N treatment], but theoretically every model could have it." That means even a N version of the Santa Fe is possible, according to Schreyer. When asked about such a crazy SUV, he referred to the Jeep Trackhawk as a competitor.

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Hyundai has been very quiet about its N brand, which is named after the division's home in Namyang. We don't know whether the N brand will spread to Genesis or Kia, but Genesis N models would be the closest thing to true M and AMG competitors. Look for N models to have performance, not visual changes. In a statement, Schreyer said "Why does it have to look more aggressive? N brand means to have better performance, it doesn't mean aggressive design. People always combine performance with aggressive, but it should not be aggressive [looking]. A Porsche is one of the world's fastest cars, [but] it's not aggressive [looking] at all."

Comparing Hyundai models to Porsche is a bold move, but perhaps that means we can expect to see some cars with fantastic handling capabilities. The N brand certainly has some big expectations to live up to, and it would be a big help if the brand could build at least one real production model before we finally lose interest.