Hyundai rolled out a number of mid-engine concept cars in the 2010s. None saw the light that awaits at the end of a production line, and that’s because the company’s performance-oriented N division ended up having to can what would have been a rival to the Acura NSX.
“We were working on an N supercar,” affirmed Albert Biermann, the former head of Hyundai’s N division, in an interview with Top Gear.
He added that the car didn’t have an official name; his team simply referred to it as “The Chairman’s Car.” As for the specifications, it sounds like nothing was set in stone when the project was canceled but Biermann envisioned the model with a carbon fiber tub and a mid-mounted engine that could have worked with a hybrid system if needed. Alternatively, The Chairman’s Car could have used a hydrogen fuel cell.
What could have been is a model with supercar power, supercar handling, and a relatively affordable price tag. Kind of like the NSX, right?
“Sure, but not boring,” said Biermann.
He added that Hyundai’s top brass decided to pull the plug on the project out of fear the car wouldn’t be taken seriously.
“The problem was the car would have cost over $150,000, and at that time it was thought a Hyundai could not have this price,” he said. Instead, the South Korean company launched its N division globally in 2017 by releasing the i30 N, a hot hatch based on the European version of the Elantra GT. Americans had to wait until the Veloster N disembarked here for 2019 to get their first taste of Hyundai’s N brand.
It sounds like Hyundai hasn’t given up on planting its stake in the supercar segment. Earlier in 2022, it unveiled a concept called N Vision 74 (a tribute to the 1974 Pony) that’s powered by a hydrogen-electric hybrid powertrain rated at 670 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.