Hyundai vs. World’s Best Mid-Engined Sports Cars at Nurburgring

Why is Hyundai Benchmarking Mid-Engined Sports Cars?

Spy shots of a mysterious mid-engine Hyundai car at the Nurburgring have been taken, causing tongues to wag about whether the Korean automotive giant might be considering creating a proper sports vehicle. Well known YouTuber and Nurburgring driving instructor Misha Charoudin was present in an industry pool day, when he noticed the Alpine A110S – with registration plates reading GG HY – in the car park. This is the same code it previously used for testing cars such as the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen T-Roc R; potentially giving us an insight into what rivals Hyundai are comparing its forthcoming i30 N, Veloster N, and Kona N models to. It’s noteworthy, though, that Hyundai doesn’t have a two-seater sports car already on the market, so what could the purpose of the A110S be?

There are a variety of perspectives that might explain this. On the one side, Hyundai may have singled out certain features in the A110S which it considers should be a standard for all N-models. Bearing in mind that the objectives of the N brand were once determined by Dr. Albert Biermann from BMW M constituency, it is entirely plausible that N always wishes to maintain characteristics similar to the A110 with regards to performance and handling, even if these qualities come in the form of an agile hot hatch or powerful crossover.

The Ioniq 5, a performance EV, is in the making, and Hyundai potentially may be looking to the A110 as inspiration when it comes to how to give the chassis an even balance of weight from front to back. The aim is to make its handling comparable to that of a mid-engine sports car and thus, utilizing a flat skateboard form.

An alternate possibility is that Hyundai is mulling over creating a sports vehicle and assessing the prospect before commencement of construction. There exists a strong chance this could still happen, since Hyundai has been openly considering and even testing the possibilities for a sports car or supercar in past years. The N Vision 74 hydrogen powered sports car concept was seen as the premier example of the company’s inclination: senior directors have stated they really wish to pursue a high-end product to roll out commercially.

Hyundai has mentioned the concept of a supercar in the past, however back in 2017 this proposal was turned down due to the expensive cost of production and a predicted sale rate of $150,000. After that point it appeared Hyundai sought to partner with Rimac for the manufacturing of two sports cars, one mainly electrical, and secondly one powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The partnership was dropped after Porsche’s leadership control of Bugatti-Rimac in May 2020 and eventually led to the N Vision 74 and RN22e projects, the electrically driven Ioniq 6-based performance car.

It has been predicted that a modification of the Ioniq 6 is probable, which would provide sporty handling very similar to mid-engine models if it is to reign over the all-electric performance category.

The final option, and the one perceived to be least probable, is that Hyundai may actually be developing a mid-engine sports vehicle. The Korean auto maker had surveyed consumer interest in such an undertaking back in 2014, when the Hyundai PassoCorto concept drew extensive praise at the Geneva Motor Show. However, it never moved beyond being a conceptual design. Over time, more demonstrations of Hyundai’s mid-engine designs have been given via their RM show cars, although these just served as rapid tech demos rather than formal announcements.

Hyundai N has indicated that they are still devoted to using combustion engines for their high-performing vehicles, hence a gas-powered sports car might potentially be on the cards. However, owing to the hurdle of devising a noted platform for something that could have a restrained shelf life (as is already observed with the termination of Toyota’s GR86 in certain areas of Europe due to severe emissions regulations), this chance appears improbable.

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