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"I would love to make a really hot Tucson": Hyundai N boss

The hottest Tucson we've seen yet is the tuned concept by Bisimoto that was shown at the 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas.

Elantra and i20 are likely next targets after i30N for Hyundai's new N performance brand, but Tucson, Sonata and Veloster could follow.

Choosing the i30 to launch Hyundai’s new ‘N’ performance brand is academic, given the widespread appeal of hot small hatches across Europe, and even Australia. 

The Golf GTI-rivalling i30N is set to appear in production form next year, but the N magic wand could soon be waved over other models in the Hyundai line-up according to N boss and former BMW M guru Albert Biermann. 

Speaking to CarsGuide.com.au at the Paris motor show this week, Biermann explained that “N is for all Hyundai, but that’s it, not for Genesis. I’m not saying there can be no high performance car for Genesis, but if there was one, it was not an N, it would be something different. At this point there is no name, no nothing for Genesis.

Biermann then explained his strategy for the rollout of the N brand across the Hyundai lineup.  

“This first high performance i30 is focused on Europe, and not too far later we will have one focused on Korea and the US, and then there’s something coming for Europe again, and then we start now discussing with China, what to do for China, so we will regionally also go different ways. As you know there’s a lot of different cars in different markets, but that is our strategy. 

I would love to make a really hot Tucson, but nobody wants it right now.

“Also there is a whole bunch of nice hot hatches in the B-segment, so at some point we might decide to go there, but there is no decision yet.

An Elantra N would seem the logical choice for sedan-loving US and Korea, given the likely simplicity of using the i30N’s mechanicals in the platform-sharing Elantra. 

The second European-focused N model will likely be an i20N, considering Biermann’s thoughts about the B-segment and the obvious logic of linking the i20 WRC program with a hot road car.  

A Sonata N could be next, given the Chinese market’s taste for mid-size sedans, and Biermann is right behind the idea.

“Personally I think it would be really nice to have a really hot Sonata, but there is no plan and no discussion or nothing about that.” 

Asked whether there’s an N version of the Veloster in our future, Biermann is similarly enthused. 

“Oh yeah I Iove it. That is a really characterful car, and it is one of my favourites, I like it a lot. Not the way it is driving now, but it has a lot of potential for the future.”

This suggests a Veloster N will have to wait for the second-generation model, which will likely inherit much of the underpinnings from the new i30 and like the Elantra be an almost bolt-in proposition for the i30N mechanicals.

The third-generation i30 will expand from the five-door hatch at launch to include a three door coupe and station wagon bodystyles, which could also be future recipients of the N treatment. 

“Why not?,” Biermann suggested. “That depends a lot on where you can find enthusiastic customers, and I think that depends a lot on the region where you sell the car, what the best choice is.”

SUVs like the Tucson and Santa Fe could also be in line for the N formula. “There’s no plan to do that, but it’s interesting job to do. It’s more easy than to make a real high performance car. Those [existing] treatments you can see out there, the high performance SUVs are just to make a lot of money.  And they’re not so much sophisticated as the high performance coupes and sedans. Sooner or later we might make that, but there’s no plan now. 

“The Kia side with GT, that was an easy approach. An N SUV, we need a bit more. There’s no plan to do that yet, but I would love to make a really hot Tucson, but nobody wants it right now.”

Does the idea of a Tucson N take your fancy? Tell us what you think in the comments below. 

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