Hyundai is testing a mid-engined platform that could see service as a brand halo car to go head-to-head with the Honda NSX.
Yup, the company that not too long ago made the atrocious Matrix has stitched together a prototype that mates a mid-mounted 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and potential for hybrid assistance with a “supercar-level” handling balance and generally mouth-watering handling dynamics.
The RM19 concept is a touring car-based project built to investigate the potential for a mid-engined, hybrid-boosted sports car, but it may end up stepping into supercar territory when it’s finished. The project, operating since 2012, has the ultimate aim of creating a new N flagship in the not inconsiderable wake of the riotous i30 N and – in certain markets – the Veloster N.
The RM19’s engine comes straight from Hyundai’s TCR touring car racers, but it’s not limited by the rules and regs of FIA motorsport. It’s good for 385bhp as it sits today, all of which goes to the back wheels. Yum. The 0-60mph sprint is done and dusted in less than four seconds, but it will only get faster as the project marches on.
Hyundai boasts that the current concept, a long way from any finished production car, delivers “racecar-like levels of performance, balance, braking and grip” and yet stays flexible enough to daily. Sign us up.
Interestingly, Hyundai has enlisted the help of Rimac to develop higher-performance EV powertrains. As part of a drive to create 44 low-emission models by 2025, this project is driving forward the efficiency of specific components to make sure they can make production and take the fight to the competition.
It’s also set to ensure that the eventual production machine can benefit from hybrid performance gains in the same way as the Honda NSX and Porsche 918 Spyder. There’s no publicly-set target date for production, so we’re going to have to be patient.