Hyundai & N might be preparing a new 400hp+ RWD coupe
Disclaimer: This article is not based on any official sources or releases from Hyundai.
Okay, Hyundai recently shocked the world with its extremely insane iMax N. It is not just a concept car, but an actually working 8 seater van that can drift around the track. Yes, it is definitely not road legal, but don’t get fooled by the car’s sheer craziness. There is something you should catch.
The specifications of the iMax N is quite surprising. It firstly has a twin-turbo 3.5L V6 that produces 402hp and 555Nm of torque. The differential and the suspension were also tuned to be more suitable for a drift car. Now, for some, it might just seem like a crazy van with mindblowing stats. However, for me, I see the components of a perfect sports coupe, or if not at least a sports saloon.
The biggest reason behind this is the engine. Hyundai recently announced a new twin-turbo 3.5L V6 dubbed the Lambda III that will be equipped in the new Genesis G80. The Lambda III engine is an upgraded version of the previous 3.3L Lambda II engine, which is well known for being used in the G70 and the Kia Stinger. Unlike the current trends of downsizing, Hyundai had actually increased the bore resulting in bigger engine capacity.
Some might argue that the 3.5L engine is not the Lambda III but rather the Lambda II MPi G6DC used in the Hyundai Grandeur and the Santa Fe. However, the G6DC engine is nearly 8 years old, and I doubt the Hyundai N division would be testing and modifying an old engine when they have a new Lambda III coming out soon.
You wanted the Sonata N? It will be here, but it will be here with a rather modest 2.5L Theta engine. Image from X-Tomi Design.
The problem is that the engine output in the new G80 will be 380hp. However, iMax N produces 402hp, it is evident that the engine has more potential with some ECU remaps and an improved turbocharging system. Furthermore, when considering the fact that putting a 400hp engine in a front-wheel drive car will definitely result in torque steer. Therefore, the Sonata and Grandeur would not be able to handle the power. Furthermore, the fact that the iMax N boast drift related components that have not been released before, the engine will definitely be used in an RWD car.
However, Hyundai does not have an RWD car at the moment. So, that leaves Hyundai one option. An RWD fun sports coupe. It is not an impossible story as Hyundai did previously produce the Genesis Coupe, which had a 3.8L engine(2.0L turbo was available too). Despite there is no news about a new Hyundai coupe, the parts that the N division is developing seems to be very adequate for a new Hyundai coupe.
At the end of the day...
If Hyundai really decides to build a new front-engined coupe with the Lambda III engine, it will have to compete with traditional fun cars like the MX-5 and the GT86 but also with the M4 and the RS5 when considering the power output. If Hyundai manages to bring the world a coupe with an M4-grade performance and a price tag of an MX-5, it will be Hyundai’s KO win.
However, that case is theoretically hard to achieve and Hyundai might even make two versions of the coupe; a base one and an N version of it. Hyundai used the same method with the i30 and the Veloster, so this is also a possible theory. The base model with a 2.0L turbo can compete with Japanese fun cars while the one with the V6 can go play with the big boys. Of course, it will be a challenge for Hyundai to compete with BMW, Mercedes, and Audi with tons of more experience and brand value. However, one thing is sure, if Hyundai decides to bring out a new coupe, that will not end up just being a ripple in the pond, but rather a huge wave for the automotive industry.