Monday, July 22, 2024
NewsThe N Brand is Hyundai's Performance Present and Future

The N Brand is Hyundai’s Performance Present and Future

Hyundai is using its N brand to pave the way for the future of performance


  • N is Hyundai’s wild side.

  • The N Vision 74 and RN22e are more than just concepts and pretty faces.


The Korean automaker long ago shed its inexpensive start-up image. In its stead, Hyundai is perceived as a car company on equal footing with Toyota, Volkswagen, and Ford, to name only a few of the world’s largest brands. To have achieved this in only a few decades is impressive. And they’re at it again and it’s happening even faster this time.

Hyundai RN22e | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Hyundai’s N brand, launched in 2015 with the i30 N, is only eight years old globally but already the products bearing the letter are regarded as highly as any GR, GTI, R, ST, and RS (when the former two were affixed to real sporty vehicles). In those eight years, no fewer than six full-fat N cars and numerous N-Line vehicles have graced roads and tracks across the planet. And it’s about to get even crazier.

Both the N Vision 74 and RN22e concepts are real and actual rolling labs. In the N hierarchy, they’re slotted somewhere between production N cars like the Elantra N and full-on race cars which have successfully participated in little-known motorsport series such as the WRC and TCR… As such, the N Vision 74 and RN22e are being used to develop future racing and ultra-high-performance driving technologies that will graduate into future race cars and, more importantly, one day land in a vehicle you and I can buy.

Hyundai Set to Debut Two Spectacular Concepts at the 2023 Canadian International Auto Show

The RN22e, as we know, is a near-production ready Ioniq 6 N that will likely strike a little fear in BMW and Porsche’s performance EV models. We will soon experience the Ioniq 5 N which will undoubtedly be wild and highly praised.

The N Vision 74 is a different beast. It features Hyundai N’s most advanced hydrogen fuel cell system, developed over seven years of intensive research and development. This innovative creation is a manifestation of N’s sustainability vision outlined in 2015, combined with Hyundai’s unwavering commitment to high performance. It also pays tribute to the iconic Hyundai Pony Coupe concept from 1974, while drawing inspiration from the futuristic 2025 Vision Gran Turismo hydrogen-powered concept. The N Vision 74 is truly a one-of-a-kind masterpiece physically and although it may never be produced as we saw it at the 2023 Canadian International Auto Show, its powertrain technology will probably return for an encore.

Hyundai N Vision 74 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

I was given a few minutes to chat with Till Wartenberg, Vice President of N Brand Management & Motorsport sub-division at Hyundai Motor Company, at the CIAS and basically asked the following after the N Vision 74 and RN22e concepts were unveiled: “Why hydrogen?” and “Why N?” The answers were sharp and succinct, and he more or less said (I may have added a few words…) the following:

Hydrogen technology, as developed for the N 74 Vision, is part of a larger Hyundai-driven approach to mobility and finding sustainable alternatives. Hyundai is heavily invested in electrification in all its forms and hydrogen happens to be one of them, and it offers many advantages. Moreover, the N 74’s powertrain technology was designed for real-world applications albeit a scaled-down version of it.

Hyundai RN22e | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

And N because it offers hydrogen technology a platform that is like no other. With no legacy to live up to, designers, engineers, and hyper-enthusiastic Hyundai employees went hog-wild. They developed a high-performance car and showcased the technology in a retro-design to ensure the automaker’s efforts get noticed. As well, a car like the N 74 will inevitably heighten the technology’s appeal and potentially its consideration.

While we’re still far from being convinced that fuel cell vehicles are a viable alternative for daily commuting, we are certain that Hyundai should build an EV on its E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) and give it an N 74 body.

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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