Hyundai will put the spotlight on a forthcoming N performance-oriented sub-brand at next month’s Frankfurt auto show.
According to Chad Heard, Hyundai Canada’s public relations manager, “… the ‘N’ sub-brand is a reference to the company’s Namyang R&D centre, which is the main hub of Hyundai’s global engineering might. It’s also a signal that there is a dedicated team that’s focused on delivering vehicles that will appeal directly to driving enthusiasts.”
At the centre of the future brand is the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, a concept that will exist only in the Gran Turismo video game series. According to Hyundai, it highlights “sustainable technology and race car design, truly representing the future potential of Hyundai N.”
Reading between the lines, this could be the beginning of the upscale/performance offshoot we’ve been expected from Hyundai for some time, and that could see cars like the Genesis and Equus–not to mention whatever comes from the HCD-16 Vision G concept shown recently at Pebble Beach–set apart from the brand’s mainstream models. The question remains what the new brand will be called when Hyundai first populates it with production models; N is obviously significant to the Korean automaker, but doesn’t evoke much emotional response. That said, BMW has turned the letter M into something special, so who’s to say the 14th letter of the alphabet can’t be just as special? Heard wasn’t at liberty to say when those enthusiast-centric vehicles would become a reality, but the company’s Frankfurt display offers some hints of what’s to come.
More concrete clues can be seen in two other concepts: there’s the RM15 concept that was revealed in April at the Seoul Motor Show. It’s essentially a Veloster with a mid-mounted turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine tuned for 300 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque and six-speed manual transmission. It uses carbon-fibre reinforced plastic panels to cut the car’s weight to 1,260 kg (about 2800 pounds), 10 kg less than a base-model Veloster Turbo. That weight is split 43/57 percent over the front and rear axles, and aero tweaks generate 124 kg of downforce at 200 km/h.
Also on display will be the i20 World Rally Championship (WRC) car, a prototype of the racer Hyundai will run in next year’s WRC series.
We’ll have more photos to share following Hyundai’s Frankfurt press conference on September 15; the show opens to the public September 19.