Hyundai is serious about its N performance brand, which is expected to launch its first model in 2017. That car will be known globally as the Hyundai i30 N, and will compete head to head with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus ST. But a report from Autocar suggests the N brand has even bigger ambitions, including an all-wheel-drive rival to the Golf R and Focus RS.
Speaking to Autocar, Hyundai N division chief Albert Biermann admitted that he’s interested in the Focus RS and its torque-vectoring rear axle.
“We have been looking at this already,” Biermann said. “I would not exclude for the future that we would do it, but it depends on how we grow.”
Biermann believes that a higher-performance launch later down the line makes the most sense, as the world is just getting to know the N brand. The first model will pack a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 designed from the ground up for performance applications, but it will be available with front-wheel drive only.
“If we came up with a performance car on the highest level [now], it might be too fast for our customers and our dealerships,” Biermann continued. “But I can see for the future that we will make a really high-performance car in the C-segment. Then, of course, we would need all-wheel drive.”
Autocar says the i30 N’s engine will make at least 255 hp, but is capable of handling much more. In a Hyundai N Focus RS-fighter, we could see output of around 345 hp to challenge the 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque of the RS’ turbocharged 2.3-liter I-4. But the hotter hatch’s existence depends entirely on customer demand.
“For the base model, there is no all-wheel drive plan. The i30 will not come with it,” Biermann said. “But you know Hyundai: if we think something is right for our customers, then we do it. We could create something at a very high-performance level, but first we need to test the waters and grow some fan base. Then we can reach higher and higher; it’s just a matter of performance level. If it goes up a lot, then obviously you need to have all-wheel drive.”
The Hyundai i30 N is anticipated to debut and launch in 2017, so expect a hotter N model to be farther out, if it comes at all.