Hyundai N: Focus is on fun, not necessarily lap times.
How do you measure driving enjoyment? Is it how fast a vehicle can go? Or maybe how quickly it accelerates? There’s no strict definition for sure, but judging by modern trends, it is probably has something to do with Nurburgring times, or at least according to many manufacturers.
But Hyundai is not among them, as the South Korean automaker believes lap times are not that important for a sports car, even though the recently revealed Veloster N has been developed on the ‘Ring. The brand’s N division has a slightly different philosophy than other sports departments.
"Our car should be very approachable," Albert Biermann, president and head of Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division at Hyundai, told Road and Track during the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. "You don’t need to be a highly-skilled high-performance driver to have fun in an N car. It should be really accessible to normal drivers. They can sense this N feeling, learn and grow with the car, and get even more fun out of it. That’s our philosophy."
That’s not to say the Veloster N is not fast on track - "you can enjoy it on the track, a lot," Biermann said. But he sees no point in spending weeks or months at the German track just to beat some record, which will probably be down again very soon. "There are companies that spend like five months at the Nurburgring, with tons of people. For that amount [of money] we can almost develop a whole car. It’s just a waste of time. I don’t do that." We kind of agree.
The good news is the future of the division is not necessarily depending on its success on the market. Its main goal is to strengthen the marque, but also to eventually add more oomph to regular Hyundai models. Sales have lower priority.
“In the end, it doesn’t matter so much how many of these cars we sell,” Biermann confirmed. “We want to demonstrate that we’re capable of providing really fun-to-drive cars. We want to increase the performance of Hyundai cars.”
Source: Road and Track