It’s been three years since Hyundai announced its plans to launch N Performance, a sub-brand on the lines of M and AMG. All we’ve seen so far are a few concept cars including the Veloster-based RM16 N at the 2016 Busan motor show and the RN30, based on the new i30 at the Paris motor show this year. There were two earlier concepts, the RM15 and the RM14 shown in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Now, we have photos of a prototype, spotted testing at the Nürburgring yesterday, again in Veloster guise. While general impression in the industry was that the RM, or Racing Midship series would merely remain show cars, while the i30-based RN will be put into production. However, this disguised test car suggests the Korean carmaker is most likely going ahead with this mid-engined car.
Our spy says the prototype did just one lap of the Nürburgring on Monday under wet weather conditions. Although it’s based on the next-generation Veloster platform, the RM16 N looks different from the front, sporting bigger air inlets, different headlights, and a seemingly wider track. Out back, there’s a substantial spoiler, while the taillights are visible despite the camo. From the side, the pictures also show large red Brembo brakes and air vents behind the doors.
If the powertrain is the same as that previewed in the concept, the prototype should be running a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot mounted mid-ship, and good for nearly 300 horsepower. It is likely mated to a six-speed manual transmission that sends all the power to the rear wheels.
The N version of the all new i30 is expected to go on sale sometime next year, so if Hyundai actually puts this car into production it could be out sometime later next year as a 2018 model. As development progresses, watch this space for more spy shots and further details.