Hyundai's new performance engineering boss says N Performance cars must be track going, with the brand confirming two levels of Hyundai i30N performance vehicles for buyers.
Speaking exclusively with members of the Australian media, Hyundai head of vehicle test and high performance development, Albert Biermann said that the brand would release two versions of the i30N and that both would have a track requirement.
"...I think first we need to grow some base with an i30 N car and we will have two levels, like a base and a more track oriented performance package car," Biermann said.
"I gave [my engineers] clear directions. This car needs to be track going and very enjoyable pushing it to the limit. It has to be consistent on the track and not just die after two laps...the tyres, the brakes and everything."
This is the first confirmation from Hyundai that the yet-to-be-released i30N will skew very much towards performance and an ability to be used as a vehicle at a race track.
It's a quantum shift for Hyundai, which has until recently focussed on providing value and quality. Its performance aspirations have been fairly limited in the production sense.
Biermann was previously the vice president of M Performance at BMW before being poached by Hyundai. He brings with him a critical amount of knowledge and experience in the performance vehicle field. But, to date, he has only worked on cars that have focussed more on performance than value.
"We just make the car what we think is our strategy. It has to be consistent, it has to have good quality, like very other Hyundai, this is what we stand for. And, it has to be affordable. It will have a strong value for money point and will be very robust so you can push it on the track," said Biermann.
"It will be fast. It might not be perfect in some areas, but I don't care, first of all it's about the fun to make it enjoyable tossing it around."
Both vehicles are expected to have similar or the same power output, be driven through the front wheels and use either a six-speed manual or eight-speed dual-clutch wet type transmission. The higher-specification performance car is likely to have more supportive seats, a higher degree of ride and handling focus and sharper styling.
Biermann drives all of the cars he develops and told the Australian group that he enjoyed racing in his younger years. He likes to be engaged with the product to ensure that it meets his ambitious demands.
Are you looking forward to Hyundai kicking off its performance vehicle arm? Do they have what it takes?