If you're feeling a remarkable sense of déjà vu seeing this Hyundai RM concept, then it's entirely warranted. Because "Racing Midship" has existed as a platform for showing off Hyundai's tech since 2012, with RM14, 15, 16 and 19 as proof of the progress. Every time they're wheeled out with some line about how being a showcase for future performance technologies and so on, ignoring the very obvious point that something Veloster-sized and rear-wheel drive would do the job quite nicely.
Anyway, the Hyundai RM is now back for the 2020s, more powerful and cleverer than ever. And probably even further removed from production reality, too. But it looks cool and it goes fast, so it has our interest. The important numbers are 810hp and 708lb ft, generated through a 60kWh battery and 800V motor. They're enough for a 0-62mph dash in less than three seconds and 0-100 in less than 10; don't forget this is just with two-wheel drive, too, the 20e retaining the mid-engined, rear-drive layout of its predecessors. Hyundai says that this latest RM boasts "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking and grip while retaining daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability." Which seems an odd claim, because Hyundai making an 800hp, rear-drive EV coupe seems about as likely as PistonHeads making one, but it's nice that they've been so thorough.
And perhaps we shouldn't be as dismissive of the intent and viability this time around, either. Because Hyundai now has, don't forget, the investment and strategic partnership with Rimac, a company that's made huge strides very quickly with EV technology. Where's the drama in making 800hp for the road when 1,900hp has already been done?
That said, the RM20e very much remains circuit focused for the moment, drawing inspiration from the recently electrified ETCR Veloster N. That can be seen in the hardware, the car boasting everything from Bosch Motorsport ABS to Sabelt seats, forged aluminium wheels and chunky brake calipers. Hyundai has described the RM cars as an "engineering 'rolling lab' for testing high performance technologies" since their inception; this rolling lab seems even more serious than the last one.
It marks a turning point, too, after so many combustion engined Racing Midship concepts; it seems unlikely that Hyundai will return to petrol power having created this. It will be shown at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition 2020, ahead of sales commenc... just joking. Like all the others, this RM20e will serve as a base to "validate advanced technologies, observe their increases in performance, and improve them for application in future N models." Which, given how well the first Hyundai N turned out, means they must be doing a pretty good job. We'll continue to imagine what a mid-engined, rear-drive Hyundai might be like with some Namyang fairy dust sprinkled over it, though we won't hold our breath; a purely electric Hyundai N seems far more likely to happen before that...
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