There’s no longer a question as to whether Hyundai was developing a mid-engine supercar: It was.
But it no longer is, and that project has reportedly been canceled due to the projected price of $150,000. Would people have paid that price for a Hyundai? Maybe, but the automaker’s executives were weary given the acceptance and market adoption of the budget-focused N lineup currently on sale.
“We were working on an N supercar,” Biermann told the outlet.
The car never received a name and was simply referred to internally as “The Chairman’s Car,” according to Biermann.
Designed around a carbon-fiber tub chassis with a mid-engine layout, the car was created from the get-go to accept either a gas or hybrid powertrain. A hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain was also a possibility.
In 2019 Hyundai revealed a mid-engine sports car prototype dubbed the RM19. It was said to represent a development platform for future N brand products including a possible halo car. The mid-engine supercar was that halo car.
At the time, Executive Vice President and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Division Thomas Schemera said, “The RM19 sports car signals future brand aspirations for Hyundai’s high-performance N brand, solidly moving N into the prestigious arena of supercar-level performance.”
The RM19 was powered by a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter turbo-4 ripped from the Hyundai TCR i30N race car and tuned to make somewhere between 360 and 390 hp. Power went to the rear wheels via a 6-speed direct-shift gearbox.
Motor Authority drove the car in 2019 and found it was simply brilliant. Stable at speed, willing to hold a line through turns, and quick to change directions, the RM19 wanted to push into corners, could get tail-happy, and the brakes needed better initial bite and higher pedal travel.
The RM project dated back to 2012 with the car itself cycling through RM14, RM15, RM17, and RM19 iterations. The numbers in the names referred to the year in which each was built.
Hyundai planned to build an RM20 model and replace the 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the RM19 with either a 2.3- or 2.5-liter turbo-4. The 6-speed transmission was going to be swapped for the automaker’s 8-speed, wet-clutch, dual-clutch gearbox.
Instead the RM20e was revealed in 2020. The Veloster-based midship prototype was powered by four electric motors connected to the wheels via a single-speed transmission. It was all powered by a 60-kwh battery and 800-volt electrical architecture. Hyundai said the prototype could sprint from 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds and had a top speed of 155 mph.
Biermann told MA in 2019 the RM19’s chassis featured a unique rear subframe to mount a midship engine along with new double-wishbone rear suspension. The executive confirmed a production version of a mid-engine supercar would use the chassis.
The final design for the car was not locked in back in 2019, according to Biermann.
When asked by Top Gear if the mid-engine car would be Hyundai’s answer to the NSX, Biermann said, “Sure, but not boring.”
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