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What could have been and was not: a Hyundai N with a mid-engine

Looking back, we see how things have changed at Hyundai. The South Korean corporation has gone from producing low-cost cars to some of the best-selling models in Spain and Europe. Its evolution is worthy of study and recognition. Investment in improvement projects has not stopped in recent decades. With thousands of ideas on the table, some have come to fruition, but others have not, as is the case with a Hyundai N with a mid-engine that was raised and ended up discarded.

A few years ago the Hyundai Group signed the then head of the BMW M division, Albert Biermann. The German, considered the father of the division that has given the Munich manufacturer so much joy, has some unique developments to his credit. His move to Seoul marked a turning point at Hyundai. The Koreans, aware of the need to inject more passion into their models, put the development of the N range in the hands of Biermann.

Today, the N models are as recognized as they are valued. The Hyundai i30N is one of the best compact cars you can buy, but over the years there have been many more ideas on the project table. As Biermann himself acknowledges in an interview with Top Gear, an N with a central engine was considered, but there were clear obstacles to making it a reality. The main drawback of all was the cost of development and the final sale price.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N 3
The Ioniq 5 N is in the development phase, undergoing testing at the Nürburgring development center

As the project was proposed, the final product would have had a retail price of more than 150,000 euros, something totally unaffordable for a manufacturer like Hyundai. Biermann has acknowledged that there were several plans for the project called: “the president’s car”, the most complex and advanced car in the history of the company. From gasoline mechanics to more advanced solutions such as hydrogen or hybrid drives.

In fact, the hybrid approach was the one that had the most to win the prize, but as we have already said, in the end the project was closed due to costs. The now executive technical advisor of the company acknowledges that it was the best decision, although it is a personal project that he once came up with during his time at BMW and that was also replaced by the BMW i8. Looking to the future Hyundai will use the N range as a platform to demonstrate the infinite possibilities of its electric. With a Hyundai Ioniq 5 N under development, the next to make an appearance will be the Ioniq 6 N.

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