Hyundai ran a trial last year for a dedicated N section of its dealerships, but it’s not ready to roll out the concept across its wider network just yet.
Two Sydney dealerships were host to a special Naughty Corner, initially reported by GoAuto, designed to showcase Hyundai’s growing line of N-branded vehicles.
“Whilst the trial was well received by customers and the dealerships involved, the ‘Naughty Corner’ concept needs further refinement before we look at rolling it out to the broader Hyundai network,” said a spokesperson from Hyundai Australia.
The Naughty Corner was styled to resemble a small portion of racetrack, with signage finished in high-visibility red and the N-signature Performance Blue.
Hyundai is in the midst of a dramatic expansion of its N range of vehicles.
Currently comprising the i30 N hatchback and i30 N Fastback Special Edition, the range will swell to include the Kona N in the third quarter of 2021 and the i20 N and i30 Sedan N in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Additionally, Hyundai has been expanding its range of N Line vehicles, which offer cosmetic and, in some cases, performance enhancements but don’t reach the level of track-optimised performance of N cars.
Hyundai will shortly roll out its first Tucson N Line, technically an option package available across much of the mid-sized SUV range.
It launched a Kona N Line and Sonata N Line this year, which joined the i30 N Line hatchback and sedan.
Hyundai has previously confirmed it’ll eventually introduce an all-electric N model based on Hyundai’s new E-GMP platform, which underpins the upcoming Ioniq 5.
There’s certainly performance potential in E-GMP, with the range-topping Kia EV6 GT producing 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque from its dual-motor electric powertrain.
0-100km/h is dispatched in 3.5 seconds, while electric range for the EV6 GT is expected to be more than 405km on the stricter WLTP standard.
Earlier this year, executives poured cold water on the likes of a large N-fettled SUV, though confirmed they’re discussing a Tucson N.
For any models larger than that, Hyundai said it’ll only look at all-electric powertrains.
Executives said N vehicles can employ any number of different drivetrains, so long as they follow three principles: they must be a “corner rascal”, an “everyday sports car”, and have track capability.
N vehicles are also intended to be affordable. That rules out a production version of the RM20e “test bed” vehicle, which uses four mid-mounted electric motors for total outputs of 596kW of power and 960Nm of torque.
“We are not sure right now if this is the right model to come up with in the future because our credo is to make our products and services affordable and assessable for a wide range of enthusiasts,” said global marketing chief Thomas Schemera.
Hyundai’s head of R&D, Albert Biermann, confirmed the N division is working on another “rolling lab project”, albeit one that combines a high-power battery with a hydrogen fuel-cell range extender.
He stopped short of confirming it for production, indicating it’s being developed more as showcase for the potential of hydrogen power.
Hyundai teased the possibility of a hydrogen-powered sports car in 2015 with the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept.
It features a total output of 650kW, with dual fuel cell stacks providing 500kW and a supercapacitor system using energy obtained from regenerative braking to produce 150kW. A motor is located at each wheel.
A carbon fibre-reinforced plastic structure keeps weight at just 972kg.