After Hyundai I30 N, Nrburgring Tuning Will Come to All New Hyundai Models

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
after hyundai i30 n nrburgring tuning will come to all new hyundai models

In Hyundai’s mind, consumers now know the brand builds reliable cars. Quality cars. Attractive cars. “But now we have the knowledge to add sportiness to that image,” says Klaus Köster, Hyundai’s European director for high performance vehicle development.

The Hyundai i30 N, essentially a high-performance version of the Hyundai Elantra GT that Americans will soon be able to purchase in less powerful iterations, is instantly becoming the foundation for a Hyundai brand that wants to be taken more seriously for its athleticism.

Just as the i30 N spent much of its development time at Hyundai’s six-year-old technical center beside Germany’s iconic Nürburgring circuit, now every Hyundai will be assessed at the Nürburgring.

The Santa Fe’s ‘Ring time probably won’t be published.

Speaking to Autocar, Hyundai’s Köster revealed some lofty goals. Admittedly, they’re long-term goals.

“It would be very nice if in 10 to 15 years,” Köster says, “we can have people on the street seeing Hyundai as a brand that makes cars which are fun to drive.”

That may be the requirement for the brand to capture more attention in Europe, where Hyundai aspires to be the top-selling non-European brand. Hyundai’s European sales have more than tripled over the last decade. The gap between Hyundai and Toyota is now fewer than 100,000 annual sales.

But even with record all-time volume in 2016, Hyundai’s European growth has slowed, just as Hyundai’s growth has slowed in the United States. After exploding for a 66-percent gain between 2008 and 2012, Hyundai’s European sales grew only 16 percent between 2012 and 2016.

Establishing Hyundai as an enthusiast brand won’t be an easy task now that Hyundai has solidified a reputation as a value-oriented automaker. It will help, however, if cars such as the i30 N (which won’t be sold in North America) and partner vehicles such as the next-generation Veloster N (which will be sold in North America) are more than just flashy, boy-racer tuner cars with more power.

On this side of the pond, the pleasantly balanced Hyundai Elantra Sport is hopefully an accurate harbinger. The degree to which the i30 N is infinitely more subtle than something like the Honda Civic Type R carries some meaning, as well. Hyundai won’t change its image at all if it attempts to do so overnight with one model.

The N sub-brand, meanwhile, appears destined for many more vehicles, although the link to Hyundai’s Namyang facility will quickly be overlooked as visions of Nürburgring dance in Accent owners’ minds.

[Image: Hyundai]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jul 15, 2017

    "In Hyundai’s mind, consumers now know the brand builds reliable cars. Quality cars. Attractive cars." Hahahaaahahhahahaha oh phuck. In everyone else's mind, consumers have known for a long time that the brand builds boring disposable transportation appliances that look/perform in 7-10 years like what a Honda/Toyota/Ford/most GMs will look/perform like in 17-20 years. And that's IF you spend a pile of money keeping it going (far more than its worth, things like very frequent and very expensive timing belt changes), don't get all your warranty claims denied and don't happen to get one with a defective engine/etc being lied about and covered up by the company, because that's how things are done in business in Korea. And then you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it has depreciated about as quickly as off-brand shoes from Walmart of the same age. If testing at the 'ring brings more durability and reliability to their products, that would be great. But I would concentrate more on that vs. making them "fun". Hyundai/Kia vehicles are not up there with the top players, and pretending they are while not striving to actually be there is not going to work out in the long term. Yes, a 2017 Accent is about a billion times better than a 1987 Excel. Nobody has denied that. But its still at the bottom of the pack in most respects.

    • See 7 previous
    • Nels0300 Nels0300 on Jul 16, 2017

      @packardhell1 I agree with JimZ, pizza driving shouldn't wreck an auto transmission. But I recognize that car was probably $10K brand new, and Hyundai replaced the transmission. There were $30K Hondas doing the same thing, and those left many owners with thousand $$ + repair bills, even after Honda's "goodwill" offer to pay part of the repair. And yet Honda still has a good rep.

  • Dougjp Dougjp on Jul 15, 2017

    People want Elantras, both versions, not Velo Steers. Don't they understand that?

  • 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.