Hyundai confirms Genesis-badged supercar project

hyundai supercar headlights front under wraps

HIGH-RANKING Hyundai executives have confirmed the company is developing a “high performance” halo sportscar for its fledgling Genesis brand that will rival the likes of Ferrari and Porsche.

Speaking to Wheels in Las Vegas today, Hyundai design vice-president Luc Donckerwolke, and vice-chairman of research and development, Woong-chul Yang, both revealed work on the sportscar is ongoing and that it would likely be rear-wheel-drive and utilise a hybrid powertrain with powerful electric motors and a small petrol engine.

“We are definitely doing it,” said Donckerwolke. “I’m actually reviewing the project next week, after CES. I can’t tell you much more about it, but we are definitely doing it. We are not going autonomous for all of our cars!"

Hyundai supercar

Yang also acknowledged the project, revealing the sportscar would utilise a two-seater body style and was likely to be developed by Hyundai’s N division under the direction of former BMW M boss Albert Biermann.

“We are very much interested in it and as far as I’m concerned I’d love to promote that [a sportscar],” said Yang. “That’s something our brand needs at this time. The people working at N will be working on that, but how we put it in the N or maybe above N … it’s pretty high performance. It’s serious.”

When quizzed on what would power the sportscar, Yang cautiously revealed Hyundai considered the performance gains offered by batteries and electric motors as a key ingredient to the model’s success.

“We cannot say it will just be hybrid,” he said “but we will use electric motors and batteries to make it more performance. Some areas we cannot just overcome by putting a big ICE [internal combustion engine], we like to minimise as much as possible the ICE and use the best application of electric motors," he said.

"That means not only efficiency but also performance can be very much optimised using both powertrains. Certainly we will put some electric powerplant in there.”

Wheels first reported on the possibility of a flagship Genesis sportscar from the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, although this is the first time the company has publicly confirmed the project.

Hyundai is believed to have bought cars as varied as a BMW M3, Nismo 370Z, Porsche 911 and Porsche 911 Turbo to use a performance benchmarks at its Namyang proving ground.

Hyundai supercar

What the sportscar will look like, and how Donckerwolke and his team will interpret the challenge of combining a traditional petrol engine with large electric motors remains to be seen, although Hyundai’s design centre boasts some high-profile talent.

Donckerwolke spent more than two decades at the Volkswagen Group where he designed the Lamborghini Diablo and original Gallardo, and also enjoyed stints at Audi, Seat and Bentley.

Former Bugatti designer, Alexander Selipanov, who penned the Chiron, also recently moved to the Hyundai Motor Company to fill a lead design role at Genesis.

As for when the sportscar would be revealed, neither Yang or Donckerwolke would provide any hints, although a concept car is still likely to be years away. Yang confirmed the design proposals were more advanced than any engineering work.

“When we talk about that the first thing is design, so design can go far ahead of production,” he said.


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