The Hyundai Motor Group, it seems, is giving a very generous amount of freedom to their new performance division: N. The first batch of fruits are still being reaped, and they include the well-received i30 N, the upcoming Veloster, and even the Stinger by sister company Kia.
Specifically, the freedom extended to the N division’s head Albert Biermann, who was hired away from his high post within BMW’s M division after a tenure of some 30 years, is quite substantial as a new report by Wheels indicates that they’re not just entertaining the notion of a purpose-built sports car, but actively pursuing its development.
The reveal comes from Hyundai’s vice president of design Luc Donckerwolke and Woong-chul Yang, its vice chairman of R&D. “We are definitely doing it,” said Donckerwolke. “I’m actually reviewing the project next week, after CES,” said the former.
One possibility is that it will be a two-door coupe, a luxurious and fast grand tourer, and as such is being positioned as the new model entrant in the burgeoning Genesis brand, where Hyundai are focusing their premium efforts. Currently, their current model lines consist of four-door saloons in three primary categories to compete with the compact, mid-size, and full size limousine heavyweights from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.
However, Yang’s words seem to contradict this line of thinking as he seems to indicate it being a strict two-seater and not a machine to skimp on the performance and handling, quoted as describing it as “very serious”.
As an exercise to win over buyers and a new audience, Yang said that this would greatly bolster the the brand, especially now as Genesis starts their first assaults in earnest with their premium (usually German) rivals. Additionally, both Hyundai and Kia are also gradually elevating the perceived value and quality of their mass market cars. A desirable and fast halo car to capture the imagination might be just what they need to push over the top.
However, there’s really no way of knowing yet what type of car Biermann and team are working on. Both Donckerwolke and Yang were hesitant to describe the project in any further detail, and for good reason. Some additional dialogue does indicate that it could potentially be powered by hybrid powertrain, though.
That in mind, there’s really nothing stopping Hyundai from giving the green light to a mid-engine design, an electrified technological supercar showcase similar to what Honda has recently done with their new NSX.
There are still other pressing priorities under the Hyundai umbrella, though, and they are likely to take precedence over this mystery sports car project, at least in the near term, such as instituting a design and engineering-lead process to all their cars, but also to improve the capabilities of their existing cars until all-new models have had time to properly gestate.