By now, you probably know of the man that runs Hyundai’s newly formed performance N Division, right? It’s Albert Biermann, the same man who used to head up BMW’s M Division. Now that he’s with Hyundai, he seems to have injected a level of fun and performance that most enthusiasts never thought possible to see from a car with a slanted “H” on the hood. However, the all-new Hyundai Veloster N is so good that it may just be the best hot hatch to ever come from a (former) BMW exec.
It might sound heretical to call the Hyundai Veloster N a sort of BMW product but it was made by the same man who helmed the M Division for so long. Regardless of where he’s physically located, Biermann still has BMW M in his blood and the M Division still has his fingerprints. So, like it or not, the Veloster N is a distant relative to the M Division.
Not only that, though, but it’s excellent. In fact, it’s probably better than any hot hatch BMW’s ever made and that’s including the rear-wheel drive hooligan that was the BMW M140i. Want some facts to back that up? It just won Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year award. That’s all the proof necessary.
All of the journalists R&T hired to test at PCOTY raved about the Hyundai Veloster N, despite not having expected to. All of them went into the test expecting a car like the new C8-gen mid-engine Corvette or 992-gen Porsche 911 to win. Both of those cars made excellent arguments for their own victories as well. However, it was the lowly Hyundai that came out on top. A Hyundai taking down cars like a Porsche 911, Corvette, Lotus and even a McLaren? Has the world gone mad? Apparently so and I, personally, love it.
In its most potent spec, the Hyundai Veloster N has a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-pot making 275 hp and drives its front wheels through a six-speed manual. That might not sound like an incredibly thrilling combo but, remember, the BMW’s of yore never had wild performance figures either. They were about chassis tuning, steering feel, balance and fun. Biermann remembers this. And that’s why the best hot hatch to have Bavarian DNA actually comes from South Korea.