Hyundai hots up

More N per­for­mance mod­els due

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - RACHEL BURGESS

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)

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