Hyundai is planning to leverage its soon-to-arrive N performance sub-brand with a range of packs and lower powered models.
Speaking at an exclusive N event in the top secret Namyang test facility south of Seoul the head of N, Albert Biermann, confirmed there was a lot more to come from the brand set to arrive in Australia late in 2017.
“There’s more to come from N … we will also widen the scope of N products,” said Biermann, adding that such models would boast the N thinking – tweaking everything from design and dynamics to the powertrain – but to a lower level.”It’s substantial, it’s a different driving experience, but not to the extent of the N models. Trying to use that brand power of the sporty sub-label and sell sports packages or sport lines or something. Why would we not do it?”
The move is similar to that taken by the performance brands of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, each of which offers a half-way house that delivers some of the go-fast bits without the big price tag.That’s perhaps no surprise given the head of Hyundai N, Albert Biermann, was formerly in charge of M cars at BMW, a brand that evolved from doing M3s and M5s to a broad model spread as well as lesser powered M Performance cars that are not as hard core and track focused as fully-fledged Ms.
The detail of the sorts of models the N-light might take is yet to be revealed, although one option is to rebrand cars such as the i30 SR and Elantra SR as being tweaked by N. With 150kW and suspension modifications that improve the handling and introduce adjustable dampers the i30/Elantra SR appears to be a prime candidate for some N branding and tweaks.
But Biermann also want to sell packs that customers could option without going to a fully-fledged N model.
“First you have to have that hero car … then the power can come to do packages,” he said.
As for the expansion of the regular N family, Hyundai has currently only confirmed one N car – the i30N.
But the company is also working on a i30 Fastback N, which uses the i30’s basic underpinnings but with a sleeker, lower five-door body that lowers the centre of gravity slightly.
The company is also working on a Veloster N, based on the yet-to-be-revealed second-generation of the quirky three-door coupe.