Automotive

Published on July 4th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Hyundai Chasing Focus RS, Golf Gti and Megane With ‘N’ Cars

Hyundai is developing N-badged cars to further distance itself from its roots as an affordable brand. The i30 N will compete with models such as the Volkswagen GTI, Ford Focus RS and sporty versions of the Renault Megane and Seat Leon.

The technology from the N-badged cars will be incorporated into other Hyundai vehicles, enhancing the performance of the entire lineup.

Sales of the i30 N will start in Europe shortly after the Frankfurt show this year. The i30 N will also be sold in Australia, but not in the U.S. or China. The U.S. and China will get different N-badged cars “in the same spirit” as the i30 N, said Min Soo Kim, head of N brand strategy.

Hyundai has been polishing its sporty credentials since it decided to enter the World Rally Championship in 2013 and first revealed its plans for a N-badged line at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show.

The “N” letter comes from Namyang, Hyundai’s R&D Center in Korea, and also from Nuerburgring, the German race circuit that is home to Hyundai’s European test center. Two close-to-series-production i30 N models finished the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race at the Nuerburgring in May, completing 244 laps on the track, which equals more than 6,000 km.

Affordability was a key target during the development of the car. “We haven’t spent money on fancy lightweight components that could have pushed the price too high” he said. Hyundai has not disclosed any pricing details for the car.

Hyundai plans to launch two more N-badged models, one next year and another in early 2019. It hasn’t shared details on the models but motoring press reports have said Hyundai plans to introduce an i20 N subcompact and a Veloster N coupe.

 

The N division employs 120 people in Namyang and 15 in Ruesselsheim, Germany, with additional help coming from engineers in Hyundai’s powertrain and chassis departments.


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