U.S. Debut Likely Years Away
Hyundai’s new in-house performance division will be brought to you by the letter “N.” That’s the short story out of Offenbach, Germany, where Hyundai Motorsport was introducing the team—and car—that would campaign in the 2014 World Rally Championship. In addition to jump-starting its rally efforts, Hyundai further confirmed that, going forward, “Hyundai ‘N’ will be used to symbolize Hyundai’s high-performance technology on both the i20 WRC car and future mass-produced high-performance cars.”
News that Hyundai would compete against captive performance departments like M (BMW), V (Cadillac) and AMG (Mercedes) actually broke in October, but this was the automaker’s first official statement of its new plans. U.S. enthusiasts, however, shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for the first Hyundai N to reach our roads. After all, it doesn't look like a 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe N is on the menu just yet; in fact, that just-mentioned i20 is the Hyundai i20 city car that’s not currently offered in the United States, so if it’s also the starting point for the brand’s new hi-po offerings, we’ll obviously have to wait for N+1.
The company didn’t provide much else in the way of specifics about its N division, although the group apparently takes its name from the first letter of Hyundai’s Namyang R&D Centre, in Korea, where development of the i20 racecar took place.
The party line from Hyundai: “Linked directly to the company's renewed involvement in WRC, ‘N’ brings together Hyundai Motor's technology and innovation with the learning from motorsport to provide a new experience for customers.”