In the lead-up to the launch of Hyundai’s first dedicated performance model, the i30 N, the head of the N program, Albert Biermann, revealed the company’s plan to expand the N sub brand via a range of packs and lower powered models.
Biermann announced the plan at an event held at Hyundai’s Namyang proving ground south of Seoul: "There's more to come from N … we will also widen the scope of N products," he said.
Biermann explained that future projects from the performance arm would boast ‘N thinking’ with enhancements made to styling, handling, and performance of Hyundai’s mainstream models like the i30 SR giving and advantage over the standard models, but without going so far as the fully-fledged i30 N.
"It's substantial, it's a different driving experience, but not to the extent of the N models. Trying to use that brand power of the sporty sub-label and sell sports packages or sport lines or something. Why would we not do it?"
Hyundai’s plan echoes the stepped model ranges of European prestige brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz which offer models enhanced by their respective performance divisions to create a midway point between the mainstream models and the more extreme M and AMG models.
Biermann’s own past includes time with BMW M during which the German performance arm evolved from making sports cars only to applying styling, braking, and performance enhancements to M Performance models as a way of providing a sportier look and feel to BMW’s cars without a full performance-oriented approach.
No details have yet been given as to how the ‘enhanced by N’ vehicles might be branded and marketed, but one possibility is for Hyundai’s existing i30 SR and Elantra SR warn hatch and sedan and either rebrand them, or create a new in-between range range that sits between the current SR models and the coming i30 N.
Factory backed upgrade packages for existing owners to build up their vehicles are another avenue Biermann would like to see, allowing owners to pick and mix N components to tailor their vehicles.
"First you have to have that hero car ... then the power can come to do packages," he said.
At this stage N will only deliver one complete vehicle from Hyundai’s range with the i30 N, however both the regular five-door hatch and an as-yet unseen fastback model, with a lower roofline and sportier styling, are expected as a way of offering buyers a greater choice of derivatives.
The second generation Hyundai Veloster hatch-coupe is also expected to eventually add an N halo model within the next few years.
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