It appears the 2021 Hyundai Tucson N is still being considered by the Korean car company.
In an interview with Lorenz Glaab, Hyundai's Head of Global Product Management, and SangYup Lee, Head of Global Design, the gentlemen alluded to a performance version of the Tucson SUV not yet being ruled out.
"Everything's possible. We monitor the market very attentively. If we believe in that particular segment – for the SUV body type – it makes sense, then we can move very quickly", Mr Glaab said when asked about the Tucson N.
Refusing to be drawn on an exact answer, the Hyundai executives remained coy about the possibility of the Tucson N, but suggested the model was still on the cards.
"Talking about N-Line, this is really more about the design side. N model is about performance and real power and added functionality in that respect, and N-Line is more [on] the design side", Mr Glaab said.
Mr Lee added: "I think the N car has to have track capability. So that is really important on the badge, to have real substance. I think that is a very important part".
The Hyundai head designer – responsible for the striking look of the new Tucson – appeared to be a proponent of a Tucson N model, joking to his colleague: "I'm so glad, Lorenz, you said that N possibilities are open to other cars".
Recently leaked internal documents suggest the Tucson N may already be in the pipeline, listing a 2.5-litre turbo engine as the car's power source.
However, website The Korean Car Blog recently cited a source who claims the Tucson N won't be happening, and the 2.5-litre engine will instead be fitted to the N-Line – a model the leaked documents showed as having a 1.6-litre hybrid powertrain.
Above: Hyundai Tucson N-Line render by CarAdvice contributor Alex Misoyannis. Top: Hyundai Tucson N as imagined by CarAdvice contributor Alex Misoyannis.
The unnamed source was quick to throw cold water on the rumours, raising questions as to whether it was the car manufacturer not wanting to distract from the upcoming Tucson unveiling.
If the model had been entirely ruled-out, as suggested, it seems the rumour could have been easily quashed by one of the Hyundai bosses.
A spokesperson for Hyundai Australia recently told CarAdvice: "Hyundai President Mr Albert Biermann has previously stated that he would consider a broad range of products as suitable for N high performance development, across all model lines, including SUVs".
The Hyundai boss previously headed the BMW M performance division, which produced performance variants of the BMW X5 SUV during his tenure.
During the interview, Lorenz Glaab, who is in charge of the company's global product direction, said: "N clearly is a tool to emotionalise the brand and to show the substance we're [capable] of delivering. So we do have a current portfolio of N models, and our clear intention is to build on that portfolio."
"Now, what models exactly, when exactly, is a little early to tell and a little early to discuss," he added.
Designer SangYup Lee closed the discussion: "Let's say it's depending on how you write the articles … we'll see what happens", suggesting Hyundai was keeping a close eye on how the rumours were being received by the public.
Let us know what you think of a Hyundai Tucson N in the comments below.