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Hyundai reveals its Porsche fighter

Stephen Ottley

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Thursday 21st November, 2019 - 5:00pm

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Hyundai is getting serious about building high-performance sports cars with this – the RM19 concept.

While officially labeled as a concept car for the upcoming 2019 Los Angeles Motor Show, the RM19 is actually a test bed for the brand’s long-anticipated mid-engine sports car, which will pit the South Korean brand against the likes of the Porsche 718 Cayman, Lotus Exige and Alpine A110.

It’s the latest in a series of mid-engined prototypes, that began with the Veloster-based RM14 in 2014. Subsequently the RM15 and RM16 allowed the company to experiment with different construction techniques and aerodynamics. Now this fourth iteration puts those elements together, along with a racetrack-developed engine.

Albert Biermann, head of global research and development for Hyundai Motor Company (and former boss of BMW’s M Division), explained the reasoning behind the creation of RM19.

“The RM platform is a versatile engineering testbed, allowing effective evaluation of various powertrains and performance levels, all on normal roads and environments,” he said.

“Throughout the evolution of the RM series, our engineers have gained tremendous hands-on knowledge of high performance vehicle dynamics with various front-to-rear weight distributions coupled with the effects of a fully-weighted, high-strength body structure on vehicle performance.”

The RM19 is powered by an unrestricted version of the i30 N TCR 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit, boosted to pump out more than 290kW. But that’s only the beginning, because earlier in 2019 Hyundai took a stake in Croation electric supercar builder, Rimac, with a clear goal of developing high-performance EVs.

When the production version of the RM series eventually hits production, likely in 2021, it’s likely to feature a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Division, made no secret that the brand will be hunting sports cars with its mid-engine model.

“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,” Schemera said.

“Hyundai N will not only increase heartbeats per minute via powerful internal combustion engines, but also through the instantaneous torque and environmental sustainability of electrified powertrains moving forward.”

What do you think: Can Hyundai really take on Porsche, Lotus and co.? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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