Ed speak

Evo - - NEWS -

WALK­ING THE HALLS OF THE FRANKURT MESSE IS not for the faint­hearted or those who value style over sub­stance when it comes to footwear. As with ev­ery Frank­furt mo­tor show, the home man­u­fac­tur­ers ruled the roost this year, or rather they would like you to think they did. And while the re­mark­able achieve­ment of AMG turn­ing Lewis Hamil­ton’s 2015 F1 car into a road car can never be un­der­es­ti­mated – where on Earth do you start with such a project? – the ‘me too’ ap­proach to prod­uct plan­ning by fill­ing ev­ery niche with a crossover was beyond tire­some.

How­ever, away from the Mercedes cathe­dral, the VW Group’s hanger and BMW’S new town, there were as many, if not more, in­ter­est­ing sto­ries per­co­lat­ing through­out the other eight halls. None more so than on Hyundai’s stand.

It wasn’t brash, over the top or at­tempt­ing to ri­val a small city’s pop­u­la­tion when it came to the num­ber of staff work­ing on it. Rather there was a se­lec­tion of prod­ucts to demon­strate why Korea’s largest car man­u­fac­turer should be taken se­ri­ously now it has de­cided to en­ter the per­for­mance car mar­ket.

The first road-go­ing fruit of this strat­egy is the i30 N, driven on page 32, but it was what was po­si­tioned around it – the WRC i20 Coupe, the i30 N TCR race car, and the i30 N that Hyundai en­tered into this year’s N24 – that il­lus­trated the breadth of the com­pany’s as­pi­ra­tions. So it was no sur­prise to spot a hand­ful of ex­ecs and en­gi­neers from Europe’s lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers pass­ing by to take in the rather im­pres­sive, if un­der­stated, mes­sage of in­tent.

While oth­ers fo­cus on the thrill of niche fill­ing, it’s re­fresh­ing to see a new con­tender take on the chal­lenge of delivering the thrill of driving.

Cover im­age pho­tographed by As­ton Par­rott

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