Hyundai N brand reveals new RM16 concept car

Mid-engined concept previews technology for Hyundai i30 N hot hatch

Hyundai has released details of the latest in a line of concept cars showcasing the potential of its new performance-orientated sub-brand, called simply 'N'.

The Hyundai RM16 concept took pride of place on the brand's stand at the Busan motor show, in its home nation of South Korea. It's an evolution of previous RM14 and RM15 concepts, intended to serve as 'rolling laboratories' for high-performance parts and technology that'll appear on Hyundai N cars.

Among the technologies showcased by the RM16 are lightweight construction materials, clever aerodynamics and an electronic limited-slip differential – a gadget that makes front-wheel-drive cars handle better when accelerating out of tight corners.

Recently, Hyundai tested the engine that'll be used in the first production N car, the i30 N, by running it in the gruelling 24-hour race at Germany's Nurburging race circuit, where Hyundai has a technical centre. It was fitted to a current i30 body (above), however the production i30 N will be based on the forthcoming next-generation version of the family hatchback, and go on sale towards the end of 2017.

Speaking to Carbuyer at the Nurburging, Hyundai's head of high-performance development Albert Biermann described several areas of improvement the i30 N will have over a basic i30, including a faster and more precise gearshift, stiffer engine and transmission mounts to help it corner better, more sensitive and precise power steering, anti-lock brakes tuned to suit the high-performance tyres fitted to the car and modified suspension for better handling.

"This won’t be the most powerful car in its class or necessarily have the fastest lap times at particular circuits,” Biermann said. "The N brand is all about driving fun and maximum horsepower is not the key element for this."

The N brand will occupy a similar place in Hyundai's range to Honda's Type R, Vauxhall's VXR, BMW's M division and Mercedes' AMG arm. The brand says that its performance models will use parts derived from its World Rally Championship effort and that "Hyundai N cars will aim to achieve harmony in performance and deliver optimum thrills to customers who appreciate a focused and truly engaging driving experience".

The N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo (above), revealed alongside the RM15 last year, focused on how sustainable technology can be used in Hyundai's performance line-up. Along with its radical aerodynamic design, it's powered by hydrogen fuel cells, with an individual motor at each wheel.

Total power is 871bhp, while a 972kg weight means it has "a power-to-weight ratio that rivals the most exotic supercars in the world". It was designed to engage the online community through a virtual appearance in the popular racing video game, Gran Turismo.

For more on the current Hyundai range, check out Carbuyer’s reviews page.

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