Long-Rumored Hyundai Mid-Engined Sports Car Is Officially Dead

Hyundai RM19 Concept

Hyundai RM19 Strategy
Graphic: Hyundai

For several years, we’d listened to rumors of a mid-motor sports activities motor vehicle from Hyundai, meant to fly the flag for the brand’s N general performance division. And Hyundai, to its credit score, built no endeavours to misdirect us. There was the RM19 concept — a Veloster with a mid-mounted 2.-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder pulled straight out of a WTCR touring car. The firm by itself described the prototype, noticed earlier mentioned, as “a enhancement platform for long term N brand name items, which includes a prospective manufacturer-halo automobile.” A little something huge was going on. It is not anymore.

Indeed, Albert Biermann — the BMW M man, who later turned the Hyundai N person and retired previous yr but continue to serves as a specialist for the Korean automaker — rather a great deal just unveiled to Leading Equipment all the things that this holy grail was intended to be. He described it as a “supercar.”

[Biermann] explains that the Hyundai supercar would have been primarily based all over a carbon fibre tub chassis, with a mid-engined structure. “We had programs for a petrol [engine] with or devoid of hybrid, or [it could’ve have accepted] a hydrogen fuel mobile.”

It under no circumstances received a true title, recognised inside of the firm as only “The Chairman’s Motor vehicle.” The selling price tag would have landed in the $150,000 assortment, prompting Top Gear to make comparisons to the Acura NSX. Biermann’s reply? “Sure, but not dull.” Damn.

Price and positioning, it would seem to be, are what doomed the forbidden flagship:

It was the Hyundai board that decreed ‘The Chairman’s Car’ would stay on the drawing board. “The dilemma was the automobile would have charge more than $150,000, and at that time it was assumed a Hyundai could not have this rate.” Biermann goes on to concur that this was in all probability the correct conclusion, as the i30N, and now the i20N and Kona N have introduced Hyundai to a new audience of petrolhead clients exactly because they’re affordable.

The cancellation helps make a minor extra feeling now that we know how expensive this spectacle for the N brand would have been. Every little thing we’d listened to painted the auto as additional of a sports automobile — most likely a thing in the Alfa 4C / Alpine A110 / Porsche 718 territory. In this most current job interview, Biermann describes a device that would seem a little a lot more really serious than that.

However, I can’t support but experience selling price is a flimsy justification. Brand name positioning does not make any difference any longer — not when Jeep is providing a six-figure SUV intended to woo Assortment Rover consumers, and we’re firmly entrenched in the age of dumb markups. Moreover, if Hyundai was actually certain no person would acquire its supercar critically, they could’ve just set a Genesis badge on the matter.

In the end the planet did not need to have another exorbitantly pricey performance auto, so personally I’m not likely to shed snooze in excess of this 1. The prospect of an N flagship was persuasive partly for the reason that it appeared like it would be attainable.

That reported, the N brand name is in some thing of a keeping sample these days. The Veloster N is lifeless, the Kona N is a fair but bloated stand-in, and the Elantra N is fugly. It’ll be exciting to see what the division can squeeze out of the Ioniq 5 and 6, but all those aren’t just all-around the corner. N experienced a good deal of momentum out of the gate, but now I reckon the model could truly use a spark of lifetime — not a lot more vaporware, rather although the N Vision 74 is.