Albert Biermann, head of Hyundai's N performance sub-brand, has confirmed his engineers are working on a Hyundai Kona N prototype.
Bierman informed AutoExpress, “I’ve told them to build the car and we’ll see what happens with getting it approved".
The former BMW engineer noted the Kona N will have the same front-wheel drive drivetrain as the i30 N hot hatch, including its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.
Given its taller body, loftier ride height, and higher centre of gravity, the Kona N will have its own steering and suspension setup, although it will likely share as many components as possible with the Golf GTI-fighter.
The British magazine understands the Kona N, should it come to fruition, will be offered with the i30 N's standard 184kW engine, not the 202kW Performance-spec motor.
More aggressive styling flourishes will be used to differentiate the Kona N from its more sedate siblings. It's understood the Kona N will feature unique front and rear bumpers, a rear diffuser, a small roof spoiler, and exposed exhaust tips.
No word yet on when Hyundai's upper management are due to make a decision on the Kona N.
Above: A regular Hyundai Kona.
UPDATE, EDITOR'S NOTE
Mike Stevens: Just as the Veloster N showed us, with its relatively short gestation after years of i30-focused reports and rumours, the case for a Kona N is an easy one to make: the Kona, i30 and Veloster all share a common platform, and range-topping fast SUVs are all the rage right now.
So, while we will probably see a Tucson N appear at some point, a Kona N could easily be considered a sure thing.
What should we expect? As Biermann told Auto Express, There's no reason most of what's going on in the i30 N wouldn't figure in a Kona N. That means a manual shifter and front-wheel drive at the very least, because a performance-focused AWD configuration has yet to surface for that platform. That said, Biermann told CarAdvice years ago that he likes the idea of an all-paw hot hatch... he just reckons front-wheel-drive is more fun.
What's less likely is the Kona N following the i30 N in offering a manual transmission exclusively. Indeed, Hyundai has conceded the i30 N desperately needs an auto option, and with a new performance-oriented dual-clutch shifter expected in late 2019, the time would be right for a Kona N to strike.
Watch this space. You can be sure Biermann will be watching for your response.