Albert Biermann hints at upcoming hi-po SUV, electrified models for performance subsidiary.
Hyundai’s N division is plotting two more models after the i30 Fastback N (above) – set to debut at the Paris motor show – but a more focused version of the Genesis G70 luxury sedan won’t be among them.
Speaking with industry journal Automotive News, Hyundai’s head of vehicle testing and high-performance development, Albert Biermann, said a fourth N model is definitely in the plan, with an additional “surprise” potentially in the pipeline.
That would bring the N brand’s model count to five, already consisting of the i30 N hatchback, the Veloster N, and the i30 Fastback N due later this year.
“There’s a car within the next two or three months that we probably have a chance to show to Vice Chairman Chung [Eui-sun] and our top management,” Biermann told the publication during a European test drive of the Veloster N at the Nurburgring, Germany.
“Depending on what is the current mood and situation, we might get a spontaneous ‘OK, go for it’.”
According to Automotive News, Biermann added that his team “could come up with a car in a pretty short time” depending on the segment.
However, don’t expect to see an N version of the new Genesis G70 sedan (above) anytime soon.
“Before the Genesis [stand-alone] brand was started, we had made some concept investigation for a G70 N,” Biermann said, “Of course we would love to do that, but right now I cannot see that.”
The upcoming i30 Fastback N apparently wasn’t part of the initial plan for the N brand, though it was given the go-ahead once the company’s design boss, Peter Schreyer, did a mock-up for Biermann, who then decided a performance version would be a great addition to the range.
Moving away from its core line-up, Hyundai’s performance chief said that alternative powertrain technology is a must in the coming years, even hinting at a performance version of the Ioniq hybrid/electric liftback.
“When we think of cars after 2021 for N, I think we cannot avoid electrification,” he said. “We will have an EV sooner or later. It’s just a matter of timing,” he said.
“As an example, we have an Ioniq EV. Were we to find a nice battery, a bigger motor and inverter, we could make an Ioniq EV N with a nice chassis and more power. Something like that is not fully crazy.”
In May, word got out that Hyundai was developing an N version of the Kona crossover (above), which Biermann himself confirmed to British publication Auto Express.
According to the report, the prototype essentially had the same running gear as the i30 N squeezed under the smaller body of the Kona, making it front-wheel drive with a manual transmission.
While such a vehicle hasn’t been confirmed for production, the Kona’s common underpinnings with the i30 and Veloster mean engineering a performance version wouldn’t take too long.
However, our guess is the company will hold off on a performance SUV until it can be offered with an automatic transmission, given current market trends – the i30 N and Veloster N’s powertrain is only available with a six-speed manual at the moment, though a dual-clutch transmission is due late in 2019.
We’ll have to wait and see what the company comes up with, but more information will likely come to hand at the i30 Fastback N’s official reveal at the Paris motor show in October. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for our coverage.
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