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Hyundai's N brand working on a true halo performance car

The Korean automaker's new performance N division wants to make an exciting, range-topping model.

2019 Veloster N engine cover

Hyundai likes to call the Veloster -- that quirky hatchback with 201-horsepower Turbo and the new 275-horsepower N variants -- its 'reverse halo car' -- an inexpensive model that gets buyers excited about other entries in its lineup. But soon, N will show off a true halo car at the very top of the company's range.

"New halo models will shape the brand," Thomas Schemera, Hyundai's head of High Performance Vehicles and Motorsports divisions, told reporters today in Germany. "We will share the details soon."

Unfortunately, Schemera wouldn't be pushed on what shape, size, or market segment the halo model would take. Nor would he hint as to whether the model will be an outlandish concept or a closer-to-production vehicle. Schemera, like N division president Albert Biermann, came to Hyundai N from BMW's M division, so it's safe to say the pair have some ideas about how to make thrilling halo cars.

This isn't the first time we've heard rumblings about a halo model. In early June, Biermann spilled at least a few beans talking about the brand's product trajectory.

The N division -- think of it like Hyundai's version of Mercedes-Benz's AMG, or Audi Sport GmbH -- was announced at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. So far, the brand is selling the i30 N hot hatchback in Europe and the mechanically related Veloster N in South Korea. The 2019 Veloster N will launch in the US toward the end of this year, likely around November; Roadshow will have a first drive of the car for you next week.

Schemera said later that one of the issues for the N brand is that there is currently no Hyundai owner community; customers buy Hyundais "to get from A to B," and aren't necessarily "car connoisseurs" like, say, M shoppers. Getting people behind the wheel of the i30 and Veloster N could start to change that -- but so could a show-stopping halo model, too.