Is Hyundai seriously creating a mid-engine supercar?
2020 is around the corner and performance cars are weirder than ever. We live in the world of an electric Mustang CUV, the Supra is powered by BMW, the Corvette is mid-engine and Hyundai is working on something mid-engined too…you heard that last part right, mid-engine Hyundai.
First the Corvette, now Hyundai?
In the past decade, Hyundai has emerged from being known as an economy car company to an emerging player in the performance car world. In an effort to show how serious Hyundai is about performance, they’ve hired the former head of BMW’s M division to head the Hyundai N. This has lead to the Veloster N, Hyundai competing in TCR racing and the development of this RM19.
The RM19 isn’t Hyundai’s first mid-engine experiment. A mid-engine Hyundai has reportedly been underdevelopment since 2012.
The RM in RM19 stands for Racing Midship, hinting at the mid-engine orientation. It is the latest evolution of the RM series (RM14, RM15 and RM16). Each version constantly improving handling characteristics, cooling, etc over the previous model.
From the outside, the RM19 looks like the standard Veloster N TCR car, flared fenders, big wing and all. When you notice the air ducts in the rear windows and fuel filler on top of the hood that says “Gasoline Only!”, only then you notice that this isn’t your typical Veloster.
Behind the pair of front bucket seats is a 390hp turbocharged 2.0L, 4-cylinder motor and 6 speed sequential gearbox, both from the Veloster N TCR.
With the TCR powertrain putting power to the rear wheels, the RM19 offers racecar levels of performance, balance, braking and grip while retaining daily road-going ability. Straight line and braking performance is similar to the front engine, front wheel drive TCR car.
In corners is where the RM19 handles unlike its front wheel drive counterpart. Understeer is non-existent and the RM19 behaves like any other mid-engine sports car.
Per Hyundai’s engineers, 62% of the cars weight sits over the rear axle. The same weight distribution as a Porsche 964. Lift the gas mid corner and the back end will come out like one too.
A modern day Renault 5?
Hyundai admits that the RM19 is more of an engineering study. Though a mid-engine Veloster N may not make it into Hyundai dealers, the RM19 will likely evolve into a mid-engine sports car for the brand. Hyundai also hints at alternate propulsion by saying that the RM19 can provide the basis for an “exciting high-performance electric sports car”. The recent announcement of their partnership with electric supercar manufacturer, Rimac supports that claim.
When many car companies are focused on EVs and crossovers, it’s refreshing to see a company take wild ideas and build a running prototype. I hope that the RM19 eventually does for Hyundai what the NSX did for Acura. Who knows where this will go but there are surely exciting products in the pipeline for Hyundai’s N brand.