Hyundai‘s N performance sub-brand may still be in its early stages, but it appears the Korean automaker has big plans for it.
Speaking to the media at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Hyundai confirmed it has plans to introduce a “serious” sports car within the next few years, and according to Drive, sources say Hyundai has been benchmarking high-end supercars at its Namyang development center in South Korea, including the Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Huracan. The idea of Hyundai working on a supercar isn’t very far-fetched when you consider the brand has former BMW M Division head Albert Biermann leading the N sub-brand. The company’s chief designer is also Luc Donckerwolke, who was head of design at Lamborghini when the Diablo, Murcielago, and Gallardo were created.
Drive asked Donckerwolke about the sports car project, and the designer confirmed something is in the works and that he’s reviewing a project the week after CES. Naturally, the Korean automaker’s vice president for research and development, Yang Woong Chul, tried to temper expectations by saying the design team works “far ahead and I cannot commit much more than that.” But eventually, he did elaborate, saying the potential supercar is a two-seater and will likely be powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
“We cannot say [it will be] just hybrid, but we will use some electric motor and batteries for high performance. There are some areas we can overcome instead of using big [internal combustion] engines as we would like to minimise as much as possible the use of IC engines and use as much as possible the electric motors. Then, in many ways — not just for efficiency, but for performance — it can very much be optimised using both powertrains,” he said.
The executive also confirmed Biermann and the N Division team are leading the project, but would not confirm whether it will be badged a Hyundai or be a standalone product for the N sub-brand. “That is not decided yet, but the people who are working on N will be working on that, but how we put it in the N — or even over the N brand — we have not decided.”
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