Even before Hyundai’s first dedicated high-performance model, the i30 N, hits showrooms the brand is looking to expand its performance range with strong-selling SUVs on the N division’s radar.
With a growing number of pre-release appearances the i30 N is set to take on established hot hatch rivals including the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST, with an official launch set to take place later this year.
But the boss of the N division, formerly the head of BMW’s high-performance M brand, Albert Biermann, revealed to TMR that the i30 N hatch was only the first step on the way to creating a full range of performance heroes with the coming i30 coupe and next year’s all-new Veloster also set to be given the N treatment.
“Right now there is no limitations,” Biermann told said during a preview drive of the i30 N prototype held at a secret location in Australia last week.
“We started with the [i30] C segment and the Fastback [coupe] will follow and we are already working on some other concepts for the B segment [Accent] and SUV also. Right now we are open.”
“The fun-to-drive element is not limited to the size and segment of the car; you can create fun cars in every segment.”
Biermann strongly hinted that the Hyundai’s popular medium SUV, the Tucson, already includes the basics to be transformed into a more sporting version under the N banner, and also hinted the upcoming Kona Small SUV could also be offered as an N model.
“If you look at the Tucson today it is very relaxed, very comfortable to drive, but to have an N version requires a lot of power, nice transmission, nice handling, sportier tyres and lowered body,” he said.
“The cars are out there and we can have a very good business with SUVs. We have a good platform with the Tucson to make a high-performance SUV.”
Longer term Biermann admitted that Hyundai would have to investigate alternative powertrain solutions to meet more stringent fuel economy regulations, opening an opportunity for the N division to tap into new areas.
“At some point in the future we would need a hybrid or plug-in hybrid to meet the regulations, so that will probably be a new chapter of high-performance cars,” he added.
But while Hyundai’s mainstream models will be the focus of Biermann’s attention, Hyundai is yet to expand the N treatment to its Genesis luxury models, going without an answer to the likes of BMW M, Mercedes-AMG and Audi Sport – all of which are racking-up record sales for their sportiest models.
“Right now there is no plans to make a really high-performance [Genesis] car,” Biermann said.
“We will have the G70 with the 3.3-litre twin turbo engine and we are not planning to put the high performance treatment to it. It will be nicely balanced, but not as wild as the N car.”
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