The new machine, unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show, is a reworked Veloster that is very close in design to the mid-engined development car seen testing earlier this year. It is effectively an extensively reworked version of the i30 and Veloster TCR touring cars, albeit with a mid-mounted engine and designed to be made road-legal.
It is powered by the turbocharged 2.0-litre powerplant from those machines, upgraded to produce 385bhp. Because the unit does not need to meet TCR’s performance balancing rules, Hyundai been able to give the machine extra boost.
Hyundai claims the rear-wheel-drive RM19 can achieve 0-60mph in less than four seconds, and offers “race car-like” levels of performance, balance, braking and grip while retaining daily road-going capability. It has a limited top speed of around 155mph, and uses a version of the TCR car’s six-speed sequential gearbox optimised for road use.
While the RM19 being displayed in LA is powered by a racing-derived combustion engine, Hyundai says it could be fitted with electrified and full electric powertrains. Hyundai is working with Croatian firm Rimac – which it has invested in – to develop high-performance electric and fuel cell powertrains for use in future models from its N division. The planned 'halo' car is set to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann said: “The RM19 prototype is completely at home on the track, but it will also be fun just about anywhere else. This new prototype takes the pleasure of driving to the next level of excitement, moving [Hyundai] to the prestigious area of supercar performance."
He added: “We are developing high-performance electric vehicles with Rimac as part of our effort to introduce 44 eco models by 2022.”
Thomas Schmera, Hyundai’s product boss, commented: “The RM19 sports car signals future brand aspirations for Hyundai’s high-performance N brand, solidly moving N into the prestigious arena of supercar-level performance.