Hyundai hots up
More N performance models due
Hyundai is ramping up plans for its N performance brand with a number of hot variants of existing models in the pipeline.
The third car in the N line-up, the i30 N Fastback, will arrive later this year, following the i30 N hatchback and the Veloster N, the latter of which will only be sold in the US and Korea.
All three models use the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, producing up to 271bhp. This unit is also likely to carry over to future N models. These could include a Kona N, Tucson N and i20 N, according to N brand boss Albert Biermann, but he added that none have been approved by Hyundai’s top brass yet.
Biermann said: “We are working on different cars. Of course we are thinking about i20 N, but nothing has been decided. We’re working on a concept for Tucson too.”
N division is even looking at high-performance electric vehicles, he said: “We even made an Ioniq EV with more powerful motor and different battery strategy. We’re fooling around with this car. How can you make the EV driving experience thrilling other than the first 100m of acceleration?”
Referencing the RM16 mid-engined concept of 2016, Biermann added: “We try all kinds of stuff. Active aero, e-supercharger, variable height suspensions systems. We have a lot of talented engineers in Korea. It’s a nice playground.”
Hot SUV variants seem most likely to see the light of day next given the growing popularity of high-riding cars.
A Kona N would probably use the lower-powered version of the i30 N’s 2.0-litre engine that produces 250bhp rather than the Performance Pack’s 271bhp given its more compact size. Meanwhile, a Tucson N would be endowed with the more powerful 271bhp unit thanks to its extra weight.
The i30 N is unlikely to remain the flagship N car in the
future, said Biermann. “There could be cars with more power and more speed but this car is, of course, our starting point,” he said. “The car defines what the N stands for: fun-to-drive cornering, a practical sports car for everyday driving, but with the key element of substantial race-track capability.”
Talking more specifically about a more powerful i30 N, in the vein of specialedition Volkswagen Golf GTIS, Biermann said there were no plans but it “is possible at some point that we will do that”.
“We have just started this high-performance business so we will take our time,” he said.
The first three cars in Hyundai’s N performance range include the Veloster N (left) and i30 N (right)