Maybe there's really no symbolism behind the timing and structure of Hyundai's announcement of the new N sub-brand, joining the alphabet soup of single-letter performance divisions, with the admittedly awesome Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, the RM15 concept car, and the definitely-not-street-legal i20 WRC rally car.
But maybe there is.
None of those are road cars. All of them are wildly different, in concept, tone, and execution. None give us an inkling of what the N sub-brand will be, so in one sense this announcement is premature. Conspicuously absent is the undeniably gorgeous HCD-16 Vision G Coupe Concept that slacked jaws at Pebble Beach. Let's parse what Hyundai's said officially about the division.
cornered Hyundai's ex-BMW performance chief, Albert Biermann, and tried to suss out some detail on the N plan, but a hard look at what Biermann said doesn't reveal much. N may develop a unique engine and refine other drivetrain elements to make them sportier—a noble pursuit—but this unique engine may end up in a crossover. Worse, N technology may spread through the entire lineup, including non-N cars. Does that make N a bit more like M Sport or AMG Line? Vagueness abounds.
Outside of that, the three cars Hyundai has tangentially tied to the N division don't tell us much. The i20 WRC car shows that the company's specialty Motorsport division can build a rally car, but it's not exactly dominating WRC. The RM15 has zero production potential, and needless to say, so does the N 2025. The Frankfurt announcement is stagecraft without substance, and it leaves us waiting for Hyundai to shed some light on where the sub-brand is headed, and what sort of products will get the N treatment. Don't hold your breath.