Hyundai said Thursday it will build electric vehicles under the powerful N brand, which is designed to compete with luxury sports cars from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
The automaker said the Ioniq 5 N, the high-performance version of its battery-electric SUV, will be launched in 2023. Hyundai also premiered two high-performance concepts — RN22e and N Vision 74 — on Thursday to test technology for future models. Neither concept has been confirmed for production.
Hyundai this week shared details about its upcoming Ioniq 6 battery-electric sedan, which is designed to challenge the Tesla Model 3 for the sales crown. The Ioniq 6 will cover 610 kilometers on a fully charged battery, based on the European WLTP test cycle. That’s roughly equivalent to the Long Range version of the Model 3.
The RN22e concept uses the body design of the Ioniq 6 and the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that enables the extended range. Inspired by both the Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo and the 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupé, the N Vision 74 concept is a high-performance hybrid model with hydrogen fuel cells.
Both are designed to showcase Hyundai’s vision for the future as it seeks to evolve from a budget-friendly mainstream automaker to a global manufacturer of luxury EVs. The first two models of the Ioniq brand – the Ioniq 5 SUV and Ioniq 6 – show striking silhouettes and sleek, luxurious interiors, trimmed with sustainable materials.
The N brand was established in 2016 to establish true performance benchmarks for Hyundai. The N stands for the famous German race track at the Nürburgring, where Hyundai’s Technical Center tests its N models. It was an unusual strategy for a mainstream brand to compete against BMW M, Mercedes AMG, Audi RS and Cadillac V-series cars, but Hyundai is now making clear its ambitions to scale up and compete in the luxury segment.
True N cars serve as low volume halo vehicles. Hyundai declined to say how many Ioniq 5 Ns it will build.