New boss of Hyundai's N division Albert Biermann says affordability will be key to the brand's future vehicle success
Darren Moss
2 October 2015

Cars developed for Hyundai’s new performance N division will be “track-day-capable”, according to Albert Biermann, head of the firm’s vehicle testing and high-performance development.

Biermann said the cars he and his team were developing would benefit from significant engineering improvements, such as better engine and brake cooling, and much 
greater durability for suspension components.

“We want these N cars to be affordable high-performance,” he revealed. “It will be the wild end of the brand. We will develop a handful of models over the next five years.”

The new sub-brand took centre stage at the recent Frankfurt motor show, as the Korean firm revealed a concept car for the Gran Turismo racing game.

The Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept is described as showing “the brand’s unique perspective on future performance characteristics” and has been created as part of the Vision Gran Turismo project. The concept is envisioned as being powered by an 872bhp hydrogen-fuelled powertrain. 

Although the 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept car isn't intended to pave the way for a production car, it is looked upon as a statement of intent from Hyundai to develop more powerful, lightweight halo models as part of its long-term plan for the N division. It's understood that a pared-back sports car forms part of that plan.

The company has also previewed the styling of its next-generation WRC rally car, based on the i20. The firm’s RM15 concept car, which was unveiled in Seoul earlier this year, is also on display. 

The first production car to launch from the N Performance sub-brand is set to be a hot version of the Hyundai i30, which is due to go on sale in two years time and will rival the Volkswagen Golf R.

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The hot i30, which has already been spotted testing at the Nurburgring, will feature lower, stiffer suspension and mild styling tweaks. 

Biermann said the N division models would be subjected to as much as 10,000km of testing at the Nürburgring circuit.

“We do this primarily for the purposes of durability testing,” he said. “If we look at a rubber suspension bush, we might have a target life of 10 years, which could be 50% longer than rivals.”

Hyundai's vice-president of marketing, Jochen Sengpiehl, said the firm was "adding the emotional characteristics of performance and driving pleasure with Hyundai N".

Biermann also spoke about the new GT sub-brand that is being introduced by sister firm Kia. “For Europe, the base Kia cars are designed to be young and sporting and offer a good level of NVH [noise, vibration and harshness] and comfort,” he said.

“But with the GT line we also want to add more emotion to the driving experience. We want the driving experience to be precise and responsive, so that you enjoy corners. We want to make sure that everything about the car is well-matched: the steering, the feel of the brakes and the clutch.”

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