So, it turns out Albert Biermann really wasn’t joking… The former head of BMW’s hallowed M division jumped ship four years ago to join the Koreans, and has been pretty busy turning around Hyundai’s performance fortunes ever since.
When he finds time in between, he has a couple of digs at his former employer too. Last year the engineering whiz was quoted dissing his German compatriots, moaning about the useless tech in today’s performance cars and the obsession with numbers. He basically stopped just short of repeating the expression, “M used to stand for Motorsport, but now it stands for Marketing.”
Biermann seems happier now, leading Hyundai’s N charge and putting his delicate handling touch to the recent rear-drive Genesis and Hyundai/Kia cars. The Hyundai i30 N hot hatchback flabbergasted the world’s motoring press at launch, with its great handling, steering, and enjoyability, something that many German cars have forgotten everything about in their chase for ludicrous horsepower and all-wheel drive systems adding weight and needless complexity.
Now Biermann is ready to surprise once again with the new 2019 Hyundai Veloster N that made its world premiere at the Detroit motor show earlier this month. And he didn’t hold back, having a go at Volkswagen’s hallowed GTI to the press claiming it couldn’t last more than two laps around a race track. He’s certainly not shy, our Al…
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Naturally, then, we expect some big things from the Veloster N. Based closely on the i30 N, the asymmetrically-styled (the new car keeps the old one’s three-door design) Veloster N packs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 275 horsepower and just over 350Nm of torque. The hot hatch market though is choc-a-block at the moment, and something like a Honda Civic Type R for example makes over 300 horsepower and 400Nm of torque.
However you shouldn’t look too much into the Veloster N’s figures — Hyundai claims the company’s N division focuses on driver involvement rather than on-paper statistics. They like to parrot that instead of flouting RPMs, they’re going for BPMs (heart beats per minute)…
Honed at the Nürburgring Nordschleife the Veloster N will start hitting markets by the end of this year, standing out from the rest of the new Veloster range with a unique front fascia design featuring big air ducts (for brake cooling) and optional lightweight 19in wheels shod with sticky Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres. At the back there’s additionally an N-exclusive rear spoiler, diffuser, and twin exhaust outlets.
Step inside the 2019 Veloster N and you’ll immediately notice the car’s bolstered cloth seats, special steering wheel and shift knob (yes, it’s a six-speed manual, deal with it…) as well as plenty of blue accents indicating it’s an N department model.
Biermann’s biggest influence will be felt in the car’s suspension, as the Veloster N gets a unique steering system and geometry, plus a rear strut brace and an optionally available electronically-controlled limited-slip differential.
Ensuring the car lasts for more than two laps at your local track day (cough-cough), the 2019 Veloster N also comes with 345mm brake discs up front. So, to summarise: shots fired — your turn Wolfsburg…