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Car and Driver: Hyundai Aims to Launch Performance Variants in U.S. Market Next Year


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BuildingWe know that the first product of Hyundai’s N performance division is set to be a turbocharged hatchback aimed at the European market, where the division is headquartered (photo). But we’ve also learned that two other N variants will be launched shortly afterward, both designed to have broader international appeal.


Timing for these introductions will be in close proximity, according to N division boss Albert Biermann, with the first coming “six or seven months” behind the i30N and the other shortly afterward. Biermann tells us that these models will aim to appeal to consumers in both the U.S. and China, although neither will be an SUV.


“I see good potential to make a high performance SUV. We have SUVs that are almost crying out, ‘make me go faster!’. But we are not focusing there yet,” Biermann told us at the unveiling of the prototype i30N at the Nurburging 24 Hours Race. “It’s all about the driving fun to start and of course the hatches, the sedans and the coupes have a better basis for this.”


Which we’re taking as a broad hint that the second and third models will be a coupe and a sedan. Biermann also hinted that these models will share most of the i30N’s powertrain, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that we expect will produce around 250 horsepower driving the front wheels through an electronically controlled limited slip differential (the latter might be optional, a cutaway was shown at the press event, below).


e-lsd hyundai N An automatic transmission option that Biermann confirmed is being developed for the i30N, and which we believe is a dual-clutch gearbox, is also a high priority for anyone aiming to sell in volume in the U.S. market, although we hope it comes alongside the option of the i30N’s standard six-speed manual gearbox.


Beyond these initial N-branded cars, Biermann admits to having larger ambitions for his sub-division, including a desire to create a more extreme performance derivative in the spirit of the Ford Focus RS.


“We have been looking at this already, I would not exclude it for the future… but it depends on how we grow,” he told us. “If we came up with a performance car on the highest level it might be too [soon] for our customers and our dealerships. But I can see in the future that we will make a really high performance car in the C-Segment. And then, of course, we would need AWD.”


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