The N performance brand is the performance arm of Hyundai. Yes, it does sound very similar to BMW M performance, but regardless that is the name of Hyundai performance vehicles. The Korean manufacturers have indeed adopted Mr. Biermann from the BMW M division. I know many Korean car lovers love to taut that. But more importantly, the N division serves a higher purpose to the masses.
Hyundai N is balancing the SUV trend
Affordable performance-oriented cars are quickly disappearing. The United States is not like the European countries where there are a plethora of small fun hatchback things. We are overrun by subcompact SUVs, medium-sized crossovers, 3-row crossovers, really the best vehicle for America seems like a Uhaul. The subcompact SUV trend has to be the worst; a car on stilts doesn’t even have a safety advantage.
The SUV trend is one thing, but the electric/hybrid car trend has been killing the soul in modern-day cars to no end. The insane regulations are to blame, but the effects have been catastrophic not only on performance cars but also in everyday vehicles. Regulations and safety have given birth to electric power steering, brake by wire, steer by wire, etc. Electronics have sapped away driving feel in modern cars, yet Hyundai still aspires to deliver an enthusiast car despite low take rates.
Hyundai N bringing back emotion
When you see cars like the Hyundai Veloster N starting around $27,600, it is a fresh breath of air to a car enthusiast to know you don’t have to spend $100,000 on a performance car. The Veloster N is a brand-new car with a warranty that a buyer doesn’t have to worry about, get in and drive.
As discussed previously, many new cars lack emotion, and many manufacturers are commonly deleting the experience car enthusiasts love most in vehicles, the manual transmission. I already owned the 2019 Hyundai Veloster R Spec, and this car utilized a B&M shifter. So Hyundai got B&M to supply a short-throw shifter for its enthusiast product, which worked out brilliantly—having that short-throw shifter made the Veloster a real treat to drive. Hopefully, Hyundai can continue a similar relationship when moving forward with the development of N cars.
When a few manufacturers do decide to throw in a manual, it ends up being rubbish almost on purpose so that nobody would buy the manual, and companies can claim the take rate is low to stop producing manuals. This deception would allow more companies to focus on self-driving tech rather than an engaging driving experience.
To make sure Hyundai’s N products remain obtainable, Hyundai split the brand further by creating an N line and full N cars. Similar to what brands like BMW and Audi do with M performance and full M, or S performance Audis and RS Audis. Having an N line that isn’t entirely ridiculous for street driving in either ride or looks allows Hyundai to broaden its audience base since not everyone needs the full N performance.
Hyundai N is changing perceptions
Now I understand, Hyundai is still in a growing phase ever since they decided to do a 180 and started to sell quality products. There is always an issue of brand perception for Hyundai, and creating products like the Genesis line or N performance cars is almost a necessity to show to the world what Hyundai is truly capable of.
Whatever the case might be, I am glad to see Hyundai continuing to expand its N line-up with adding vehicles like the Elantra, Sonata, and even the Kona to receive the N treatment. It is great to see Hyundai care enough to build cars that are affordable to regular buyers, but for enthusiasts as well.
Kevin Meyn is an automotive journalist for Torque News concentrating on Hyundai content. Kevin is the founder of Exhaust Sports Auto Youtube channel, where he does professional car reviews on new and used vehicles. Through the use of various resources and extended Automotive expertise, Kevin documents the latest in automotive news revolving around Hyundai. Kevin graduated from NC State University studying Supply Chain Management but has had a passion for cars since he was a child. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Instagram @exhaustsports.