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Hyundai's 300hp RM16 concept previews N. Image by Hyundai.

Hyundai's 300hp RM16 concept previews N
Hyundai 'N' high-performance brand will be developed off back of RM16 show star.
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What's all this about?

If you've been paying close attention to Hyundai recently, you'll know it is going to do its own high-performance sub-brand - like M for BMW, or AMG for Mercedes, for instance - which will carry the letter 'N'. Since 2014, it has been building brand awareness ahead of launch by constructing various concepts and 'visions' of what these N Hyundais will look like, with the RM14 and RM15 vehicles being of most interest.

Right. So I'm going to hazard a guess that this is the RM16?

Full marks. The RM16, displayed for the first time at the Busan Motor Show in Hyundai's native South Korea, is a development of the first two cars. It still uses a Veloster body as its basis and is still mid-engined, rear-wheel drive; power comes from a 300hp, 2.0-litre 'theta' T-GDI petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. A space-frame chassis and carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body panels keep the weight down, with the car's bulk split 43:57 per cent front-to-rear. Its centre of gravity is less than 500mm off the ground.

OK, but what's new for the RM16?

Fresh technologies include an electric supercharger to bolster the petrol engine's output and responsiveness, the RM16 benefits from an electronic limited-slip differential and there's also an automatically controlled rear spoiler to maximise the aero at any given point. An exhaust that can be quiet or loud and adjustable sports seat bolsters complete the driver-focused picture.

But there's no chance of this going into production, is there?

Sadly, it doesn't seem likely, but these RMs are used as a test-bed for technologies we'll see on Hyundai N models in the near future. Or, if you want the same information from the mouth of Albert Biermann, head of Hyundai Motor's Vehicle Test and High-Performance Development team, then you can have it, as he said: "RM models will continue to play an important role as the 'rolling lab' in the development of our future high-performance 'N' cars."

Neat. What else was Hyundai showing in Busan?

The N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, a one-off hydrogen-powered concept supercar with 884hp and a CFRP monocoque chassis, was among both Hyundai's WRC models and its zero-emissions Ioniq vehicles, so there was a nice mix. And it's fitting the RM16 was revealed at Busan 2016, as two years ago at the same show Hyundai whipped the covers off the RM14. The RM15 debuted at Seoul last year.

Matt Robinson - 2 Jun 2016    - Hyundai road tests
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