Hyundai N Vision 74 Is a Wild ‘Rolling Lab’

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Few of us who grew up within the ’80s—or some other decade—would disagree with Dr. Emmett Brown’s introduction of the DeLorean DMC-12 in Again to the Future: “The way in which I see it, if you are going to construct a time machine right into a automobile, why not do it with some type?”

Now we all know that the identical precept holds true for future-looking hydrogen fuel-cell demonstrators. Hyundai’s N Imaginative and prescient 74 “rolling lab” would not simply bear a passing resemblance to the stance and proportions of the DeLorean, it truly has a real, if distant, connection to the stainless steel sports activities automobile.

This hydrogen-fuel-cell/electrical hybrid sports-car idea set the automotive web alight when it was first proven a few months in the past. The N Imaginative and prescient 74 demonstrated Hyundai’s continued dedication to hydrogen energy by means of the mixture of a 670-hp powertrain and what these early photos steered was the flexibility to generate spectacular drift angles. Now we have had the prospect to drive an engineering prototype, and we will affirm that the N Imaginative and prescient 74 has each celebrity presence within the flesh and the flexibility to smoke its rear tires. That is the type of future we will all get behind.

Sadly, there are not any plans to place the N Imaginative and prescient 74 into manufacturing—the drivable model was created principally to assist Hyundai be taught extra about what the corporate calls a “digital differential”—two separate 335-hp motors with no bodily connection between them energy its rear wheels. Nor, it seems, is the engineering automobile truly a Hyundai beneath.

“It is a [Kia] Stinger,” Albert Biermann tells C/D with a broad grin. The 66-year-old German left BMW’s M Division to turn out to be Hyundai-Kia’s R&D boss and in addition based Hyundai’s N Division. Though he is now retired from that job, he nonetheless works for the group underneath the far-ranging job description of government technical advisor. It is a function that, clearly, provides him the flexibility to make PR executives squirm as he heads off the official script. “The design got here a lot later, and the entire concept began off with a distinct model, it wasn’t an N factor in any respect, it was for the posh model [Genesis]. However then we stated, ‘This can be a lot of difficult stuff,’ so we needed to construct a mecha-proto—which is what we name a prototype constructed on an present automobile—after which apply the brand new methods. We realized the Stinger was closest when it comes to dimension.”

4 of those Stinger-based prototypes had been constructed, every with the 85-kW fuel-cell stack from the present Hyundai Nexo along with a high-performance 62.4-kWh battery pack. As 85 kilowatts interprets into 114 horsepower, these numbers clarify that the hydrogen stack is not instantly offering the facility required by the high-output motors; quite, it’s appearing as an on-board charger to increase vary. Hyundai quotes a determine of about 370 miles from the mixture of a completely recharged battery pack and the 9.3 kilos of hydrogen the dual rear tanks can retailer.

The choice to show one of many prototypes into the N Imaginative and prescient 74 got here later, and the idea’s bodywork includes a deep dive into Hyundai’s earliest historical past. Lee SangYup, government vp of design, led the undertaking. He is a person with loads of expertise in terms of styling muscular coupes. Earlier than becoming a member of Hyundai, he was liable for each the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro and the attractive Bentley EXP 10 Velocity 6 idea from 2015. As its title suggests, the N Imaginative and prescient 74 takes its inspiration from the Nineteen Seventies, when Hyundai commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro to create a coupe model of the corporate’s first independently produced automobile, the Pony hatchback. The end result had a lot of the wedgy kind frequent to his extra well-known designs from the identical period—however in all probability the closest resemblance to the Alfa Romeo Alfasud Dash and the 1970 Porsche Tapiro idea.

The Pony Coupe did not make manufacturing. The fledgling firm had extra pressing wants than a halo coupe and, as Lee admits, “We did not have an engine or suspension that would match the design.” The undertaking was dropped, however the authentic tooling blueprints stayed within the firm archives—and Giugiaro used them as the start line for what turned the DeLorean DMC-12, albeit with the addition of gullwing doorways. And though formally impressed by the Pony Coupe, there’s something unarguably DeLorean-ish concerning the N Imaginative and prescient 74’s profile and the darkish fascia bar the place the pixel headlamps are positioned. Lee has one request, although: that we do not name it the “Seventy-four.” “It sounds a lot better in Korean: Chilsib Sa,” he says.

We begin out within the passenger seat on the Bilster Berg observe in northwest Germany, a demanding and closely graded personal driving circuit constructed on the positioning of a one-time munitions depot. Having negotiated the roll cage and strapped ourselves into the racing bucket seat, it is potential to see among the Stinger that also lurks within the dashboard structure. We set off, and really rapidly it turns into clear that this isn’t a type of fragile idea automobiles that should be handled with child gloves. Challenge engineer (and newbie racer) Jonghyuk Kwon demonstrates each the 74’s capacity to generate uncomfortable g-loadings and substantial drift angles on a lot of Bilster Berg’s turns.

Our drive is much less spectacular. Hyundai’s want to guard this vastly costly one-off implies that the traction management has been switched again on. The N Imaginative and prescient 74 feels at the very least as quick as its official claimed quantity—a sub-four-second 60-mph time, in accordance with Hyundai. Its accelerator response is searingly direct, and, in contrast to automobiles that flip their motors instantly from a gasoline cell, there is no such thing as a sense of output slackening because the stack struggles to maintain up with demand. Within the N Imaginative and prescient acceleration feels relentless, and because the speedometer streaks previous 88 mph, we’re half anticipating to instantly be transported to 1955.

Sitting on street-spec Pirelli P Zero 4S tires and weighing round two tons, the N Imaginative and prescient struggled just a little underneath braking—the pedal feels picket, and stopping distances into Bilster Berg’s slower turns had been just a little longer than anticipated. However in corners it was impressively keen to alter route and located spectacular adhesion, particularly when it got here to traction in tighter turns. Regardless of the dearth of any bodily connection between the rear wheels (and the quantity of torque going to every), responses felt equivalent to these of a automobile with a traditional differential. And it stayed equally pure even when, with the traction management within the extra permissive Sport setting, we had been in a position to intentionally push the rear tires into light, progressive breakaway. The hydrogen powertrain may be the headline grabber, however the invisible cleverness of the demonstrator’s energetic methods is probably the most spectacular factor about the way in which it drives.

Whereas Hyundai stays dedicated to creating hydrogen-powered future fashions alongside EVs, not one of the purchasable ones appear more likely to be retro-inspired coupes. “Will the time come for us to carry this to a buyer?” Biermann asks, rhetorically. “It’s onerous for me to see us doing it; at this second we do not want such a automobile.”

A conventional electrical model could be simpler to create and nonetheless be consistent with the forward-looking ethos, however the N Imaginative and prescient 74’s glossy, low traces would not work with Hyundai’s Electrical World Modular Platform, which makes use of an underfloor battery pack. “Positive, we may make a brand new battery in a distinct format,” Biermann says. “Something is feasible. However we would wish to spend an enormous quantity to take action.”

There might be loads of attention-grabbing, purchasable automobiles in Hyundai’s future, together with the forthcoming Ioniq 5 N EV, which guarantees Porsche Taycan-rivaling efficiency. Sadly, the N Imaginative and prescient 74 would not look set to turn out to be considered one of them.

Specs

Specs

Hyundai N Imaginative and prescient 74

Car Kind: twin rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe

PRICE

‘Rolling-lab’ prototype, not on the market

POWERTRAIN

Rear Motors: 2 permanent-magnet AC, 335 hp every

Hydrogen Gas Cell: 114 hp

Mixed Energy: 670 hp

Mixed Torque: 664 lb-ft

Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 62.4 kWh

Transmissions: direct-drive

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 114.4 in

Size: 195.0 in

Width: 78.5 in

Peak: 52.4 in

Curb Weight (C/D est): 4400 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)

60 mph: 3.5 sec

100 mph: 7.5 sec

1/4-Mile: 11.3 sec

Prime Velocity: 160 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)

Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 60/64/56 MPGe

Vary: 370 mi


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