Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Hyundai Continues To Tease Us Before The Frankfurt Auto Show

Hyundai sure has come a long way, haven’t they? What started off as a simplistic (some say questionable), attempt at manufacturing and marketing commuter cars to the American public, has morphed into a full-blown success story, as the South Korean automaker continues to make waves everywhere it goes. Its metamorphosis has been so astounding that the Cheat Sheet even did a write-up on the history of Hyundai, highlighting its humble beginnings, dedication to the American market, and cutting-edge modern creations.

Hyundai’s rise is an example of what’s possible if you play your cards right and evolve gracefully, and for its next act, the company plans on wooing the world with a move toward extreme performance, with its N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept vehicle at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show. Expanding upon its sporty “N sub-brand,” Hyundai hopes to show both haters and supporters what it’s capable of (at least in the digital realm) when the checkered flag flies this September.

Hyundai doesn’t want to just build hype with this concept car either, so its engineers made it as functional as possible in order to show-off the widest array of new technologies possible. Originally designed as a specialty vehicle for Sony’s PlayStation video game, Gran Turismo, the digital version of the car is as close as anyone will ever come to getting behind the wheel of it. Luckily, it’ll be uploaded before the end of the year, so gamers won’t have to deal with inconveniences like production, deliveries, or paying for fuel. While Hyundai spokeswoman Angela Hwang remains tight-lipped about most details, she says it’s important to note that this vehicle is purely a concept of what the automaker is capable of, and shouldn’t be misconstrued as a model for a future production car. So put that wad of cash down Floyd “Money” Mayweather, this one is out of reach even for you.

In a recent report by Autoblog, Hyundai’s trip to Frankfurt will center not only on this unobtainable concept car, but on the New Generation i20 WRC car that it plans on racing next season. Originally plugged in April of this year, the i20 WRC car is one hot hatch mean machine, and being able to finally get specs on it is a dream come true for a lot of petrolheads and rally enthusiasts.

According to Hyundai, its engineers have been working diligently on improving the car’s ride, handling, design, and performance all at once in an effort to spruce-up a company image that is known more for reliability, affordability, and tech than aggression and prowess. The automaker wants to show what it calls a “dedication and investment to create striking and pioneering high performance cars,” and judging by the two vehicles seen here, we find it difficult to argue with this statement. As the N performance line continues to get a complete overhaul, Hyundai says its metamorphosis plays a key roll in the future of the company, as it “signifies the pace of change within the brand, matching the company’s ambition to challenge perceptions by making real and emotional connections with customers.”

When the Korean automaker rebooted its motorsports activities via entering the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2014, responses were equal parts confusion, surprise, excitement, and curiosity, as millions of car guys eyed the new contender with interest. But it’s held its own, and back on the asphalt, Hyundai isn’t screwing around either, enlisting engineers from Lotus to help its team tweak the redesigned Genesis until it was deemed worthy by both American and European standards. Even more interesting was its opening of a European-based tech center so it could consistently test cars on Germany’s infamous Nürburgring, because if you want to compete with cars like the new Volkswagen GTI S, you’re going to have to get some serious track time in on the Nordschleife. To cap it all off, Hyundai enlisted Albert Biermann, the former chief engineer of BMW’s legendary M Division, to get the N-line into shape fast.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering what the hell the “N” stands for in Hyundai’s N-line of performance cars, it represents Namyang, which is the automaker’s technical center outside of Seoul, where the company is based. This is the AMG, M, Type-R, TRD, Mopar, and SVT side of Hyundai, and if all goes well the two cars you see here will spawn a new line of high-performance Korean production cars, which is rumored to be landing toward the latter end of 2017.

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