The long-awaited Hyundai range of N Performance models will stretch to the Korean brand’s newly established luxury arm, Genesis – and the most likely candidate will be the new G70 sedan.
Hyundai North America reaffirmed the name of the new model that will rival the highly successful Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the likes of the Lexus IS, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, labelling the car the “G70 sport sedan” during a presentation to global media.
The newly-created Genesis brand – which was announced as part of the reveal of the new S-Class-sized G90 model ahead of that car’s debut at the Detroit auto show this week – will include go-fast N models in a move that seemingly blurs the lines even further between the two marques.
Hyundai’s recently-appointed head of vehicle test and high performance development, Albert Biermann, made it clear that performance will go hand-in-hand with luxury under the Genesis nameplate as it does with rivals such as Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
Biermann, who formerly worked for the BMW M division as the vice president of engineering, told CarAdvice at the 2016 Detroit show that the models sold by the company – be they Hyundai or Genesis models – will be N-branded.
“N is a sub-brand and with N high performance cars we work for both brands – so you have to be ready for N versions for Hyundai and for Genesis,” Biermann asserted. Up to this point it was assumed that N would be reserved for Hyundai’s mainstream offerings, and spreading the N love across both line-ups without rebranding is somewhat unprecedented.
Biermann said the models won’t just be warmed over, hot-looking cars but instead they will have to be the “full package – real racetrack-going high performance cars”.
He indicated there may not necessarily only be one N-badged performance car in the Genesis ranks, either.
“More than one,” he said. “We have a nice roadmap for the next five years working [for N] so there will be Genesis cars included.”
When asked specifically if the car would be a new version of the Genesis Coupe – which was previously sold under that name by Hyundai, with a performance bent rather than a focus on luxury, Biermann declined to comment.
“I cannot talk about this today,” he said.
Further, he didn’t want to speak about a new mid-sized SUV that will also be spun off the G70 platform.
“I cannot tell you today,” he said, before adding: “but they will be nicely matched to the philosophy of the brand.”
Biermann suggested that the default layout for the new G70 model – which hasn’t even been teased at this point, but a concept version is expected at the New York auto show in March – is to offer a sporting character.
“The G70, that’s a whole new animal,” he said, indicating that it is built on a new platform with different axle concepts that means the regular version will be sporty to drive, let alone the N model.
“You can expect some really nice handling cars,” he said.
When asked what cars had been benchmarked for the new Genesis G70, Biermann indicated that anything and everything is worth competing against.
“Whatever is around. Whatever comes best we take… Things change so there’s no best for a long time,” he said.
“It’s a G70 but you can expect also some powerful G70 [models]. That platform is good for a lot of power.”
Could that mean the new 3.3-litre V6, which has 272kW of power and 509Nm of torque?
“The maximum torque goes from 1300 up to 4500 and it’s much more responsive… There might be some more sporty thing later on, yeah,” he said.
Could that something be a little bigger, with eight cylinders and maybe a pair of turbochargers, too? Biermann wasn’t willing to say.
“I cannot comment on that today. This V8 [the current Tau 5.0-litre version with 313kW/519Nm) is not turbo.
“This V8 in direct injection – a nice V8 engine. But for the future as you know regarding emissions and so on, if you go to performance area it might be you need to go to turbo,” he said.
MORE: all Genesis brand news