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Hyundai displays new RM19 concept

'Racing Midship' Hyundai prototype gets yet another update, boasting more power and future hybrid possibilities

By Matt Bird / Thursday, November 21, 2019

Those thinking that this Hyundai looks jolly familiar have every right to. Hyundai first embarked on the 'Racing Midship' project in 2012, showing 'RM' cars in 2014, 2015 and 2016. While Hyundai has always claimed that that cars were road tested to assess technologies, and that the features were improved "for subsequent application on future N models", to not produce something as exciting as the RM - especially in light of the i30 N's success - has always seemed a bit of shame.

Now, though, five years after the first Hyundai Racing Midship car, we have the RM19, a 390hp, TCR-engined, rear-drive coupe that... still won't make production. Dammit Hyundai, talk about teasing. The press material suggests this car "signals future high performance potential for Hyundai N brand", even going so far as to mention electrified versions in light of the recent tie-up with Rimac, yet is officially nothing more than an LA prototype. Boo.

Like all the other RM concepts, and with the clue rather in the name, this 19 places its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder in the middle of the car. Essentially a derestricted version of the i30 N touring car engine, the near-400hp on offer means 0-60mph in less than four seconds - aided by a six-speed sequential gearbox. Hyundai even goes so far as to state that the top speed is limited to 155mph for public highway driving, even though this is a concept - make of that what you will.

Otherwise it's a weird mismatch of road and racetrack: the look is clearly Veloster-influenced, yet the aero bits make it look like a Time Attack car; the enormous brakes and super lightweight wheels are on road tyres; the interior has dials and a dash, but also buttons on the wheel for engine maps. And a drink. Curious...

"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," said Thomas Scherma, Hyundai's head of product and executive VP. Which is certainly encouraging, even if it feels like we've been hearing it for a while. Still, if there's one company that appears committed to its performance cars, it would seem to be Hyundai, and the i30 N has proven them more than capable.

With the car having been extensively Nurburgring tested, the promise of "supercar-level handling balance and low-polar-moment-of-inertia agility", plus the prospect of batteries adding to 400hp, we've surely every right to be eager. Let's hope Hyundai can make the business case sooner rather than later - the past half a decade has shown they're keen, if nothing else...

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