By on June 2, 2016


Remember the ‘N’ Division, Hyundai’s effort to bring attainable performance to its buyers? No?

Hyundai launched the division last September, three years after it created Project RM (Racing Midship) to test high-performance technology for use in future vehicles. So far, the division hasn’t yielded a production vehicle, but the automaker appears to be getting closer.

A new concept, the Veloster-based RM16, dropped at the Busan Motor Show in South Korea today, designed to hint at the characteristics of N models to come. There’s also news of a successful engine acid test at last weekend’s Nurburgring 24h Race.

Three concept cars led to the RM16, with each serving as a “rolling lab” for engineers.

“Our RM16 and Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concepts are inspired by the passion for performance, that you will soon see evolve into our first N model,” said Woong-chul Yang, head of Hyundai’s research and design center, in a statement.

Powering the two-seat RM16 is a mid-mounted 2.0-liter four-cylinder featuring turbocharging and direct injection, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The body’s aluminum space frame is clad with carbon fiber-reinforced plastic body panels, and special attention was given to weight distribution.

The concept’s tuned Theta engine, which makes 295 horsepower, was given an acid test at the Nurburgring 24h Race last weekend. During its first appearance on any racetrack, the automaker said the mill “met all expectations.”

Though the test vehicle only placed 90th out of 159 cars, it recorded the fastest lap time, breaking the 10-minute barrier.

When will an N models start to appear in Hyundai showrooms? The automaker’s not saying just yet.

[Image: Hyundai Motor Company]

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14 Comments on “Hyundai Teases RM16 Concept, Reminds People It’s Still Planning a Performance Division...”

  • avatar

    Not sure if I’ve ever really heard about “N”, but also not really that interested.

    The truth is, this is probably a good move for Hyundai, but performance divisions are built over time, with quality offerings and appealing to a base. They also have to get it right. A powerful engine, superb handing, etc, will all be for naught if they can’t get the chassis right, just as an example. The base will go elsewhere and to a brand with more credentials and reputation. Just building a performance car with N on it won’t a performance division make.

    We’ll see. But it will take years to get there.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m more eager to see the Ioniq.

  • avatar

    The Hyundai branding is confused. I thought that the idea was for Hyundai to move upscale by focusing on luxury (i.e., budget MB) while Kia focused on sport (budget BMW). It doesn’t feel like they are following through consistently.

    At the end of the day, consumers need a reason to buy Hyundai other than ‘it was $1,500 cheaper than Toyota.’ A consistent brand image would help take them there.

    • 0 avatar

      Oldsmobile in the 60s when it was a solid middle class conveyance still had the 442. Hyundai can have a performance division. Plus don’t forget that the Hyundai/Kia relationship is more like cousins than brother and sister.

    • 0 avatar

      “At the end of the day, consumers need a reason to buy Hyundai other than ‘it was $1,500 cheaper than Toyota.’”
      OK: It was $1500 cheaper than Toyota, plus the warranty is so long that it’s all written in fine print…

  • avatar

    So basically, the RM16 is the Honda CR-Z that the market wanted before it lost interest in the CR-Z entirely.

    Mainstream performance brands don’t do very well unless they are on muscle cars. Most upper trim family sedans offer levels of performance, if not outright feel, that was impossibly expensive just 20 years ago.

    How many Golf-Rs does VW sell? Focus RS? Civic Mugen? Not that many. So in the end, this is mostly a marketing exercise.

  • avatar

    Forget the performance Hyundai.

    With the exception of the Genesis Coupe – a car superior in every way to the Toyota 86 (EVERY SINGLE WAY) performance divisions are shrinking in most markets.

    Focus on hybridizing and producing full EV with long ranges.

    • 0 avatar

      The Hyundai has a higher cost of ownership than the Toyota 86 (more depreciation and higher fuel consumption), and the Genesis Coupe’s transmission feels like pulling a stick through a box of gravel compared to the 86.

      #savethemanuals but make sure they’re manuals worth saving. I know the V6 Genesis Coupe is a budget 370z but it’s not a NISMO. It’s evident that Nissan and Toyota have been building sportscars before Hyundai even slapped together its first jeep.

      • 0 avatar

        That EXACTLY describes the experience of dragging my coupe’s incredibly rough shifter from one gear to the next. I’ve driven manuals continuously for 35 years and this one is far and away the worst – my ’71 Datsun 510 was smoother! Add in the bit of gear grind between 5 and 6 unless the clutch is pressed through the firewall and the experience is complete. Oh yes, the shift knob has also violently disassembled itself twice after only 15,000 km. The second time (it happened again just this week), I used super glue when I put it back together – we’ll see how that holds up. The car is great in every other way, why did Hyundai decide to skimp on this particular part of the car, you know, one you use ALL THE TIME while driving? Why not have the steering wheel unravel randomly as well so people can have the complete experience?

  • avatar

    >Hyundai launched the division last September…
    >So far, the division hasn’t yielded a production vehicle…

    So, 8 months. That how long you think it takes?

  • avatar

    Hyundai has about as much interest to me as Daewoo. Not even on the radar.

  • avatar

    Vizzini: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”
    64andahalf: “Never go in against a Korean when tenacity is the test!”

    I think they’ll get there. I think they’ve already closed many of the styling gaps they used to have.

  • avatar

    While Hyundai is at it, why don’t they dish out a reminder that they PLAN on bringing out something to compete with a BMW 3 or 2 series, Audi 4 or 3 series, Mercedes C series? Should have happened over 5 years ago, what are they calling this luxury compact now, a G70 or something……

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