Currently reading: Hyundai N division 'halo' car could be AWD and hybrid
All-wheel-drive, petrol-electric power under consideration for performance brand flagship, according to bosses

Hyundai is favouring an all-wheel-drive, petrol-electric powertrain for its upcoming ‘halo’ car, according to sources at the Korean firm.

Set to represent the pinnacle of the N brand model hierarchy, the mystery range-topper was confirmed by bosses in July last year.

Company insiders have suggested to Autocar that hybridisation is currently on the cards, alongside a price positioning that would likely undercut the £115,000 Polestar 1 as well as other electrified performance GTs.

Vice president of Hyundai’s high-performance vehicle and motorsport division, Gyoo-Heon Choi, said: “A halo car remains in our plans. It won’t come for a while yet but we know we have to make one. We are now looking at some alternative powertrains and some different options on what kinds of vehicle we might deliver and when.” Hyundai N brand insiders suggest that it’s unlikely that any halo car will be on sale before 2022.

“We’re developing more powerful combustion engines for future cars,” Choi went on, “but also more powerful electric powertrains; experimental performance fuel cells, too. Conventional four-wheel drive is an option for the [halo] car, but it is very old technology. I would prefer to think about a front-engined hybridised platform with a rear-mounted electric motor; it’s an appealing direction for us.”

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Klaus Köster, director of high performance vehicles at Hyundai’s European Technical Centre, added more detail about the halo car, saying: “Our challenge is to make the product affordable but also credible in the way we define any Hyundai N car. It cannot only be capable of just a handful of laps of a track before losing power – but also cannot be pitched at a price of hundreds of thousands of euros. The people who buy those kinds of cars are not Hyundai customers; not yet, at any rate.”

Even so, through a combination of Hyundai’s existing N-brand four-cylinder performance powertrain driving the front axle and the Kona Electric’s electric powertrain at the rear, the potential already exists for a four-wheel-drive Hyundai N-car with close to 500 horsepower.

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“Ultimately, we will only ever respond to customer demand,” Köster added, “and we will only ever deliver something fully resolved, with a driving experience we’re really happy with. So we must be careful that, whatever we do, we create a car that N-brand customers will buy.”

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The chosen bodystyle for Hyundai’s halo car has yet to be revealed. Insiders have previously suggested that a high-performance four-door, in the same vein as the Kia Stinger GT, and a two-door sporting coupé are the most likely candidates.

The N division, headed by former BMW M boss Albert Biermann, was established to produce high-performance versions of the Korean firm’s line-up, in the style of Volkswagen’s R brand or Mercedes-Benz AMG.

The brand has been testing a mid-engined, Veloster-based ‘RM16 N’, a component test mule that is thought to be part of the development process for the halo model.


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Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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Peter Cavellini 12 February 2019

If fine, really...

  Every Week we we exciting some not so images of Concept Cars, most never see the Road as is,and we the punters who buy Cars go...ooh!!! I like that! , only to be disappointed by a playing it safe Car, I do wish designers would keep there wild ideas in there Laptop and just show us the close to production item, wouldn’t be such a let down then.

harf 12 February 2019

That’s a pumped up Veloster


jason_recliner 12 February 2019

harf wrote:

harf wrote:


Looks like a Veloster ready for TCR. Badass.

BradP 12 February 2019

jason_recliner wrote:

jason_recliner wrote:
harf wrote:


Looks like a Veloster ready for TCR. Badass.


Yeah...might be a pumped up veloster but it is well pumped up. Looks like it'll be great

jason_recliner 12 February 2019

Those wheel arches!

Looks awesome so far.