Hyundai’s N performance brand has pulled the covers from the RM19 ‘Racing Midship’ at the 2019 LA motor show. The mid-engined machine, with elements that could have been lifted directly from a WTCR race car, is being described as a ‘rolling test bed’ for technology that will fire Hyundai’s fast-car ambitions into the next decade. Crucially, however, it’s also a car with clear production intent behind it.
The RM19 points straight at the £100,000 N-brand halo car that could be in production by 2021. We’ll see an RM20 version next year that will be much closer to the production car and, shortly after that, well, it’ll be time to start scratching around for the deposit.
The super-aggressive, track inspired bodywork and aero-package of the RM19 makes it look like a Veloster that’s been locked in the gym for a year. The huge competition-style wing and rear diffuser dominate the tail view, the rear wheelarches jut uncompromisingly from the bodywork and there’s a front splitter on which you could rest your Cup a Soup.
Under the skin, things get even more interesting. There’s double wishbone suspension at all four corners, an e-differential and a braking system that locates huge ventilated discs behind the wheels. These elements, as well as the steering system, are said to be very close to those that will be fitted to the RM19’s production car offspring.
The mid-mounted engine in the RM19 is a 2-litre turbo unit with a 390bhp power output and torque of 332lb ft and which is mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox straight out of a WTCR competition car. That makes for a claimed 0-60mph time of around 4sec, but you can forget about this powertrain for the production version. Hyundai has somewhat more exotic plans for its N-brand hero car and we’ve been tentatively directed to expect a hybrid powertrain of some kind with a dual-clutch gearbox.
Speaking at the LA motor show, Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Division, said: ‘The RM19 sports car signals future brand aspirations for Hyundai’s high-performance N brand, solidly moving N into the prestigious arena of supercar-level performance.’
We await the next stage in Hyundai N’s journey to a production supercar with great interest.