With the incredibly positive reception of the brand’s first performance car, the i30 N, Hyundai’s motorsport arm continues to expand its operations. The N Brand is starting to look a lot like Renault Sport in the early 2000s with a fantastic handling hot-hatch, growing motorsport prowess, and now a mid-engined prototype based on a regular hatch.
Hyundai N unashamedly benchmarked the Renault Megane RS in the creation if the i30 N, with that car suitably destabilising the hot-hatch kingdom, it now seems they’ve consulted Dieppe’s back catalogue with a contemporary incarnation of the Clio V6.
The Korean brand claims the RM19 concept could be the beginning of a premium sports-car assault, with engineers referencing hallowed sports coupe names – think Hyundai versus the Porsche Cayman, BMW M2, and – another Renault reference – the Alpine A110.
With Albert Biermann – director of the storied BMW M brand during some fine years – spearheading the RM19’s development, we can expect the production car to perform well indeed.
For now, the RM19 remains just a concept, with the name standing for ‘Racing Midship’, the functional prototype is equipped with a mid-mounted 290kW two-litre turbocharged engine borrowed from the brand’s TCR series racecar, powering the rear-wheels only.
According to Hyundai, the RM19 should complete the 0-100km/h sprint in under four seconds, though with midship handling balance this prototype will be more than merely a straight-line bandit.
The RM19’s shell is based on a three-door Veloster, though there are some pretty glaring modifications, starting with huge eighties-style box-flares which increases the car’s width to 1,945mm, a massive 145mm wider than 1,800mm road-going car.
From the rear it’s clear the RM19 prototype is a race car (for now), the humongous chassis-mounted rear wing protrudes hilariously from the body-work, the vast rear-diffuser poking out of the bumper like the bottom lip of an irate six-year-old, it looks proper nuts.
And yet, Hyundai claim this concept will lead to something that has “racecar-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip while retaining daily road-going capability”, so expect more refinements in the future, though it’s unlikely the wing and diffuser would pass Australian design rules.
The concept shown here is not the first development of midship for the N brand either, the project began back in 2012 and has created previous prototypes the RM14, RM15, and RM16, it’s obvious Hyundai wants to create something proper, then.
As well as a turbocharged petrol engine, Hyundai claims that additionally, we can expect to find variations on the theme, with high-performance hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full battery electric powertrains all on the cards.
It’s in collaboration with Croatian EV startup Rimac – which Hyundai and Kia have invested $90 million US in – that the company will develop these high-performance battery electric drivetrains, we can’t wait to see what kind of mind-bending acceleration will come from that powertrain.
Hyundai’s ambitious targeting of hot-hatch titans has proven successful, we can’t wait to see the RM19 evolve into Porsche Cayman rival.