Hyundai’s performance aspirations are clear: the Korean automaker wants its newly created N sub-brand to take on the mainstream performance marques.
Already confirmed, the first N car will be based on the Volkswagen Golf-rivaling i30 hatchback which is on sale in the United States as the Elantra GT.
To be called the i30 N, the car will be revealed on July 13 ahead of a formal debut in September at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show.
Aimed at taking on mid-range mainstream performance models like the Volkswagen GTI, Honda Civic Si, and Ford Focus ST, the i30 N will be powered by a turbocharged inline-4 thought to be delivering 246 horsepower in standard guise and 271 hp in a more hardcore, track-focused version. Drive will be to the front wheels only, via a 6-speed manual.
The team developing the i30 N is led by former BMW M engineering boss Albert Biermann. Featured in the above video, Biermann explains that the focus of the i30 N’s development has been on handling and driving fun.
At the same time, the team wanted the car to be fully capable at the track. That’s why prototypes have been tested extensively on one of the world’s most punishing race tracks, the Nürburgring. Hyundai entered two virtually production-ready examples in May’s 2017 24 Hours of Nürburgring. One of them finished 4th in class and 50th overall.
2018 Hyundai i30 N races in the 2017 24 Hours Nürburgring
The latest prototype testing at the Nürburgring has the web address of Hyundai’s European engineering base, the HMETC, located in Rüsselsheim, Germany, plastered on one of its windows. The HMETC is seeking to fill a number of engineering positions, details of which can be found at its website: www.hmetc.com.
Sadly, the i30 N isn’t headed to local showrooms. Instead, we’ll receive another N car, one likely based on the next-generation Veloster.
And for those wondering why Hyundai’s new performance division is named N, the letter represents the Korean automaker’s Namyang R&D center located in Hwaseong, Korea. It’s also a tribute to the Nürburgring where much of the development of N models will take place.