Hyundai’;s been showing off mid-engine concepts and flogging mid-engine prototypes for at least 4 years. The fanciful 2014 Passo Corto gave way to a Veloster Midship concept just a few months later, the following years bringing the RM15 N and RM16 N. The “RM” stands for Racing Midship, and spy photographers caught the RM16 N painting a new racing line at the Nürburgring. Korean outlet #@@#@!! Motorgraph #@@#@!! reports that Hyundai is currently developing its Theta III engine for release late this year or in 2019 in the next-generation Genesis G80, but the 4-cylinder will be engineered to suit front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and mid-engine applications.
In the interests of more power, displacement in the Theta III will increase to 2.5 liters from the 2.0- and 2.4-liter displacements of the Theta II. Naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions are in development, both maintaining Hyundai’;s GDi direct injection. Front-wheel drive, turbocharged applications are predicted to output 280 horsepower, rear-wheel-drive turbo vehicles would get 300 horsepower. The turbocharged 2.0-liter Theta II in the current Sonata tops out at 245 hp, the same engine previously offered in the Santa Fe took that up to 264 hp.
The mid-engine turbo Theta III would shrink to 2.3 liters, but rock a max output of 350 horsepower. That would put a mid-engine Veloster at the award-winning end of the competitive set, alongside the 350-hp Ford Focus RS and well in front of the 292-hp Volkswagen Golf R. Admittedly, it’;s early days for such talk, but with a motor in the middle and ex-BMW M boss Albert Biermann helming the chassis department, Hyundai might even aim for dynamic comparisons to the 350-hp Porsche 718 Cayman S.
A potential super sporty offering from the N division needn’;t be a Veloster, either; that hatch might merely be an engine testbed. The Korean carmaker didn’;t poach 2 ex-Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini designers so that it could think small.
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