Home » Hyundai’s VP Of N Wants To Put The Wild N Vision 74 Into Production

Hyundai’s VP Of N Wants To Put The Wild N Vision 74 Into Production

Hyundai N Vision 74 Cias 2023 Topshot
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Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You’ve probably heard that saying countless times, but what does it have to do with the Hyundai N Vision 74? Well, if people want it badly enough and are willing to pay for it, there’s a chance that Hyundai just might put it into production. What a great bit of news for a Friday, right?

At the 2023 Canadian International Autoshow, I had the lovely opportunity to sit down with Hyundai’s VP of N Brand management and Motorsport, Till Wartenberg.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

We had a great chat about electrification, driver’s cars, and brand direction that we’ll get to later, but he also asked me a question I never expected to hear: “What would you pay for an N Vision 74 if it was produced?”

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Gosh, that’s a good question. (Editor’s note: And the ultimate comeback to auto journalists who demanded brown, diesel, manual wagons for years! -PG) I’ve had several close friends with Sports Car Means say they’d pay six figures for one because it makes them feel something, and I reckon that Corvette Z06 money would be more than fair given the sheer performance on offer. The best ballpark figure I could give was in that neighborhood, and Till seemed to like the sound of that.

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Of course, there was a good reason for asking me that question. Wartenberg responded, “My personal wish is to produce this vehicle. It’s at first probably an investment, but if we could see this vehicle really out there and people buying it, I would be very happy.”

The N Vision 74 broke the internet when it was unveiled with its irresistible blend of Giugiaro folded-paper styling language and method of cramming more electricity to the motors on track through a hydrogen fuel cell. You can read more about how it works in my article, but what you really need to know is that it’s a functional rear-wheel-drive bat-out-of-hell that looks like a super silhouette car.

It’s not an overstatement to say that it was the best concept car of 2022, so even a glimmer of hope of it making production ought to feel like cracking an ice-cold beer on a sweltering summer’s day.

N Vision 74 charge door

As for the general future of the N brand, things are looking good in the age of electrification. For a start, Wartenberg doesn’t seem sold on the idea of large performance SUVs, saying, “To just have a big SUV, to put a lot of performance into it and call it N, we’re very reluctant to do that.” It’s all about putting feel on top of everything, or as Wartenberg put it, “How do you get this agile, nimble race feeling into heavier EVs?”

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To figure that out, Hyundai has the N Vision 74 and RN22e rolling labs, and it’s also entering eTCR touring car racing with the same E-GMP platform that’s under the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 to aid the development of electric N models. As it stands, Hyundai’s the only manufacturer to put a dedicated EV platform in eTCR, so this should represent a huge step up in performance EV chassis development that hopefully if everything goes well, will eventually go into a production version of the N Vision 74.

N Vision 74 rear three quarters

If you want your own electrified high-performance wedge and can spend big-league sports car money on it, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to write to Hyundai. After all, in 2006, members of the BMW Car Club of America wrote to BMW to say they’d put deposits on the line if the Bavarian marque offered the V10-powered E60 M5 with a manual gearbox.

Sure enough, the persuasion worked, and the U.S.-only E60 M5 6MT was born. While far from a guaranteed outcome, surely a bit of mail won’t hurt the N Vision 74’s chances.

(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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Matthew Zimmermann
Matthew Zimmermann
1 year ago

Just saying, this thing needs to hit production with sealed beam headlights.

Scone Muncher
Scone Muncher
1 year ago

I don’t have sports car money but I haven’t wanted anything so badly since I was a yout’ with a Plymouth Prowler poster.

Marc Miller
Marc Miller
1 year ago

It’s a cool car and I love its looks and technology, but what happened to the FIA’s 2023 eTCR season? Their website mentions it not. Only mentions 2022.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago

What would I pay for this? About three fifty ($3.50). Sometimes there is a reason the prototype gets changed. Sometimes there are a lot of reasons.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

you have no soul

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago

For the love of god, please build it and don’t change much about that styling at all

Shooting Brake Advocate
Shooting Brake Advocate
1 year ago

I would drive the hell out of this. It’s beautiful.

You know, once I got a house and could charge it.

Andrew Bugenis
Andrew Bugenis
1 year ago

Ughhhh I want one so bad, but the only public hydrogen stations clear on the other side of the country, it’d be hard to live with. I don’t think I can just order hydrogen via UPS.

Also my price range for cars is, like, $20k, so I’m not really in the market for *any* new cars right now.

But damn. Daaaamn. Had I a winning lottery ticket, yeah, Z06 tier money EASILY.

Maybe they’d make an EV-only version for a few dozen thousand off.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Bugenis

Or a hybrid with a range extender, I would be interested in a hybrid sports car like that.

Troy Marsden
Troy Marsden
1 year ago

Needs a Mr Fusion on the hatch, but otherwise looks good.

SYKO Simmons
SYKO Simmons
1 year ago

At least leave an option to have a environmentally unfriendly engine for it. So that those much like myself who don’t really believe in a that BS can still hoon loudly.

Tristan Hixon
Tristan Hixon
1 year ago
Reply to  SYKO Simmons

That’s… Not how this works. You can shoehorn an electric motor and batteries (poorly) into an ICE vehicle, but on a dedicated EV skateboard platform, you cannot go the other way ’round.

Turns out design considerations for pure EVs are different than for ICE or ICE-able vehicles.

SYKO Simmons
SYKO Simmons
1 year ago
Reply to  Tristan Hixon

Where there’s a will there’s a way…. Daddy Rich proved that with Ice T.

Deathspeed
Deathspeed
1 year ago

I don[t give a damn about the propulsion system. It can be a gerbil in a wheel for all I care. But please build this, if just for the headlights!!!

William Domer
William Domer
1 year ago
Reply to  Deathspeed

I see this as a Genesis halo car, mostly due to the expected price. But OMG if they built this thing, that too would break the internet. Also it would look amazing next to our Ionic motor appliance in the garage

Brau Beaton
Brau Beaton
1 year ago

Hmm. If you cover up the front end, it just looks like an 80s era Celica Supra with a fibreglass wide body kit.

Arthur Flax
Arthur Flax
1 year ago
Reply to  Brau Beaton

I see Mitsubishi Starion…Either way, I wouldn’t pay anything for it even if it were powered with Iron Man’s illuminated blue heart. Kill it. Kill it with fire.

Evan Finn
Evan Finn
1 year ago
Reply to  Arthur Flax

It’s okay to be completely incorrect from time to time. We all still love you.

Evan Finn
Evan Finn
1 year ago
Reply to  Brau Beaton

That, or the Z31 300zx without the pop-ups

CivoLee
CivoLee
1 year ago

If it were a 2+2 liftback, I’d be interested. Two seaters just don’t interest me because I am automotively monogamous and actually carry things (and people) from time to time.

Barry Allen
Barry Allen
1 year ago
Reply to  CivoLee

Wait, it isn’t a 2+2? I hadn’t realized. It should be for sure. That long back window really looks like it houses some rear passengers.

CivoLee
CivoLee
1 year ago
Reply to  Barry Allen

Every picture of the interior I’ve found just shows the front seats, so it’s impossible to tell for sure. But keep in mind that this is just a concept, so they might make a production version more practical.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago
Reply to  CivoLee

I like the term automotively monogamous. Not really big on the concept though.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

I have a hard time trusting Hyundai to make this happen. When it comes to bringing concepts to market their history is mixed. On one hand, there’s the striking Ioniq 6; on the other there’s the Santa Cruz that went from jaw-dropping concept to a Tucson with a fanny pack.

Gary Moller
Gary Moller
1 year ago

This is a very cool concept! And a different take on hybridization, for sure. It will be interesting to see what actually comes out of the production process. I love Italdesign’s work, generally. This is definitely a step back to ‘74, and it’s refreshing. All that being said, Giorgetto Giugiaro said he was proudest of his work on affordable cars. This is, of course, a halo car. Z06 money? Whew. Sell it with a Genesis badge. But the bigger issue is presenting a concept that will need 2 separate infrastructures stood up to be really useful. Electric charging facilities AND hydrogen fueling stations. That’s a big ask if only for this car. I don’t know if there would be an appetite for this kind of hybrid in a larger range of cars to support the infrastructure. Interesting idea, and a gutsy move if they make it happen. It’s not distinctive enough as simply a performance BEV, should they ditch hydrogen.

Michael Han
Michael Han
1 year ago

I currently have an i3 that I intended to drive into the ground, but I’ll drop it in a heartbeat for one of these

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

“What would you pay for an N Vision 74 if it was produced?”

I WOULD PAY ALL OF THE MONIES. ALL OF IT.
I WOULD TAKE YOUR MONEY TO PAY HYUNDAI MORE MONEY.
I fear you are not understanding. I would fucking rob banks to buy this thing. I would sell your kidneys to buy it. (I’m not selling my kidneys. That would be impair my driving enjoyment.)

But they HAVE to retain the H2 system. Period. This is exactly the kind of car I go “fuck it, let’s drive halfway across the country” with. 2500 miles in 2 days, sure, why not. It’s the kind of car I’d take to a track day with two sets of tires, and I’d need them. Now try doing that with a BEV. Hint: you can’t. You just straight up cannot.
One, find 350kW chargers that actually deliver. (Nope.) Two, that’s 100 miles per 10 minutes at the most optimistic. More realistically it’s over an hour every 200-250 miles. Means 3.6 hours, stop for 1+ hour, means 8.7 hours to travel 500 miles. (And remember: we must estimate a reduced range because of charging stations. Same as filling up at half tank because the next gas station’s 180 miles.)
And these aren’t Cannonball numbers folks. 2500 miles in 2 days is 30 hours of driving at 75MPH, 1.5 hours of filling up on gas, about 2 hours of food stops, 14 hours of sleep (enough for me to not be fatigued.) In a BEV, you add 10 hours of charging stops. Not cool. H2 FCEV, even if they’re in parallel with chargers, turns it back into 1.5 hours of filling up on H2.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

‘But they HAVE to retain the H2 system. Period. This is exactly the kind of car I go “fuck it, let’s drive halfway across the country” with. 2500 miles in 2 days, sure, why not. It’s the kind of car I’d take to a track day with two sets of tires, and I’d need them. Now try doing that with a BEV. Hint: you can’t. You just straight up cannot.’

They may be slow(er) but at least EV chargers exist! Where outside California will you refuel your H2 vehicle? Hint: you can’t You just straight up cannot.

https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/hydrogen_locations.html#/find/nearest?fuel=HY&hy_nonretail=true

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
1 year ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

There’s a lady in my town with a hydrogen Mirai. The closest station is 40ish minutes north of us. Maybe she works close to it, but I would find it incredibly annoying to have to drive that far to fill up.

Toecutter
Toecutter
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

That fuel cell system is not yet mass produced. If it were, the car would cost a minimum of 6-figures. And you’d have almost nowhere to fuel it with H2.

They could much more cheaply sell it as a pure EV than a fuel cell/plug-in EV hybrid. I suspect a pure EV version of this will be a 350 Wh/mile car, if it has a Cd value of 0.35, a frontal area of 21 sq ft(we don’t know those figures yet, but the car’s appeal is its aesthetics and Hyundai shouldn’t change that), uses performance-oriented tires, and assuming this variant would weigh in at 5,000 lbs, a full 500 lbs less than the concept(that H2 system is also heavy, PLUS it has a heavy 62 kWh battery). A 100 kWh pack could fit in a pure electric car with that sort of weight, and range would be minimally acceptable as a result, approaching 300 miles at highway speeds. It should have zero problem putting Hyundai’s claimed 680 horsepower to the ground.

Although, it could stand to lose a lot of weight over what I proposed as feasible above. It would probably be better suited as a plug-in series hybrid with a small gasoline engine and a lower weight but extremely power-dense battery pack. A 20 kWh pack of LoneStar batteries could provide more than enough continuous power to max out the drive system while allowing a reasonable plug-in range, and they could use the Kappa II GDi engine which makes 118 horsepower, which is comparable output to the 85 kW fuel cell stack shown in the concept. Doing this would shave hundreds of pounds off the weight of the car I propose above and shave almost an MG Midget in weight off of concept car, making it even faster. And unlike H2, you could still get fuel for it anywhere in the country due to the ubiquity of gasoline filling stations, and run it as a pure plug-in EV for your daily commute to save money. When using the gasoline engine on long trips, you’d probably get somewhere around 35 mpg in this configuration.

6SpeedJunkie
6SpeedJunkie
1 year ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Do it, you cowards!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 year ago

Even as someone who owns an N I’d written this off as vaporware…but if there’s a company that’s crazy enough to try it it’s probably Hyundai. They’ve thrown caution to the wind several times over the last 5 or so years and it’s clearly working for them where things stand today.

For whatever reason (I don’t think it’s necessarily great for their bottom line) Hyundai has been fighting tooth and nail to get their performance wing up and running over the last few years in an era where enthusiast cars and driving engagement are going the way of the dodo. Obviously I’m biased but I think they’re doing an amazing job and are actually giving us what we want with these products…loud, relentlessly fun, not too serious cars that prioritize performance and engagement over all else.

You’ll definitely see the cost cutting when it comes to refinement and interior quality but as far as pure joy for the money goes it doesn’t get much better than an N. I think it’ll be cool as hell if this goes into production and I hope the N brand sticks around and continues to grow. It’s been fun being an early-ish adapter for sure.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

Hyundai is the kind of fiscally conservative where I don’t believe for one millisecond they would be asking this question if they were not looking for real, honest answers.

Conducting research like this is not a ‘just ask some people’ exercise. It takes money. Asking, recording, and analyzing those answers costs money. Taking that result and just seeing if it can be turned into a production car costs even more money.
And they aren’t building fun cars just to promote their brand. If they were doing it for that, you’d have GV70’s being sold at a loss and a GV80 with a supercharged V8 lined up next to a Trackhawk. Hyundai’s performance models are all precision guided missiles aimed at gaps in the market.
You couldn’t buy a hot hatch. Enter the Veloster N.
You couldn’t buy a warm sedan at a reasonable price. Enter the Hyundai Elantra N Line.
Hey, the budget warm sedan is doing really well. Now there’s money for a hot sedan, enter the Hyunda Elantra N.
You can’t buy a hot mid-size SUV or compact SUV. Just ginormous, six digit pricetag full-size. Well hey, here’s the Kona N! (And it sure don’t hurt that small SUVs are selling like hotcakes either!)

And their cost-cutting – as you’ve seen – is just as precise. It’s a performance car, so no heated seats and wheel, but you get heated mirrors. Leather, but not full leather – faux-suede, “for lightness.” They’re not deleting things like cupholders, sticking you with cheap ‘lightweight’ fabric, or replacing upholstered surfaces with cheap plastic.

So if they’re asking the question? They want to know the answer, and unlike those ASSHOLES AT GM (still angry about the Buick Avista,) they’re asking it because they want to know if they can green light it.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

They also have the Ns inhabiting their own place in the market price wise. They wipe the floor with all the “warm” compacts (GTI, SI, WRX, etc) for the same money as well kitted out versions of them…and they’re close enough in performance to the serious versions like the Golf R, CTR, etc. to make you think twice about those as well.

The FK9 seems like a great car, but is it really worth TEN THOUSAND more than an Elantra N at MSRP? For the right buyer sure, but I’d personally have a hard time justifying it. All the Ns also have a killer DCT option…which no one other than VW offers in this segment. The rest are either manual only or offer a damn CVT option.

Really the only thing that I think can give them a run for their money is the GRC, but good luck getting one of those, let alone getting one at anywhere near MSRP. Again, I’m biased as I actually own a Kona N (I wanted the Elantra but the missus asked me to meet her in the middle with the CUV), but they’re really compelling products at a price regular people can afford.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

Having driven a lot of cars, the FK9 is one of the most over-hyped over-promised under-delivering cars in a long time. And that’s before factoring in just how BADLY ENGINEERED the FK9 actually is. Hint: dumps water into the spark plug galley, but the massively overstressed engine often fails other ways before then.
Remember: I look at cars holistically. 0-60 times are useless when you’ve got rust in the head at 15,000 miles. So it’s not only bad but massively overpriced.
VW is already nuts demanding $45k+ for the Golf R, but then they turn it into a punishing machine. No leather, only fabric. Upholstery delete “because racecar.” Bad fake carbon fiber “because racecar.” $265 to make the mirror turn signals sequential. Stupid “dynamic center caps.” $270 rear sunshades because wait a damn second didn’t you just delete fabric from the dash and doors?
And the GRC? Forget it. I have a lease I can beat Toyota up with, the dealers want the car BAD because it’s got less miles than their loaners and the residual is nuts because it was written for 36k miles. I told three of them straight up: “I will gladly sell you this car if you agree in writing to order and sell me a GRC at the $39,945 sticker which I will finance through you.” All three refused. When they’d already be making a minimum $5k off the lease buyout deal before conquest, loyalty, and TFS spliffs. (Transferred lease so gets conquest + loyalty if I buy another Toyota.)
And if the GRC’s build quality is on par with the regular Corolla, it’s a shitbox anyways.

There’s just no realistic or meaningful competition with Hyundai’s lineup. Not in price, not in quality, not in engineering. The motor they’re using in the Elantra and the Kona are using the very well proven G4KH. Whoever they have working on chassis is the equal of their design department. The suspension is well balanced, the engine isn’t overstressed, the transmissions are spaced excellently.

I think Hyundai also realized the Kia Stinger was a HUGE misstep because of the pricing and doubly so with their criminally bad dealership network. They hadn’t proven shit, people were assaulted with demands for a credit check and drug test on walking in, and they were trying to sell a $40k+ “better than BMW” ‘weird sedan.’ I was ready to buy a pretty much max sticker Stinger and walked right back out multiple times.
And Kia hasn’t improved. Local dealer blew up a deal on a demo ’23 Stinger in Ascot Green over Tan with the 2.5 that I wanted. “No test drives without a credit application and the price online is wrong it’s $1000 more!” Okay, you have fun explaining that illegal shit to the State AG.
Hyundai’s somewhat improved, but only if you go to a Genesis dealer. They still suck ass though. Not Penske or AutoNation levels of suck, but they pretty consistently manage to not do anything that makes me morally and ethically obligated to punch them in the face till they shut up. But they aggressively just don’t give a shit. Four different sales people that have taken my information and promised to call if they get pretty much exactly the cars they have had come in and sit on the lot for 30+ days. When I told them “if you get X, call me, and I will put a deposit on it over the phone.”

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I definitely had to shop around to find a Hyundai dealership that didn’t suck. I had put a deposit down on a GRC with an MSRP only dealership in the area, but after reading all the rave reviews the Ns were getting I decided I needed to do my due diligence. A dealership maybe 15 minutes away got an Elantra N in stock and I went out to take a look on a Sunday afternoon.

I was absolutely blown away by the damn thing. I tried to be respectful because the car was still in its break in period, but even with keeping the revs under 5,000 or so the car was remarkable. Glorious sound, endless grip (Im not sure you’ll find the limit on a public road), snappy DCT, heavy, precise steering with tons of feedback. Really my only issue with the EN is the seats. They’re pretty damn stiff for daily use and I found them to be constricting. Im about average height (5’10) but I have a stocky build and they just gripped me the wrong way.

Either way I got back and said I’d buy it. Then, the salesman pointed to what was essentially a post it note next to the window sticker that said they wanted $3,000 over MSRP. I said “I’ll buy it today and trade in my GTI if you sell it to me at sticker. It’s listed online at sticker so you should honor that”.

He then got combative and unprofessional, telling me I must not know very much about cars because markups were the new normal. I responded by again saying I’d buy it that day at MSRP. The salesman then got even worse, again told me I didn’t know anything, and told me to leave. I then walked out and said “here’s my number, I am ready to buy at sticker”, and he angrily responded with YOU MIGHT NOT BUY IT WITH THE MARKUP BUT I GUARANTEE YOU SOMEONE ELSE WILL!

It kind of put a damper on the cars for me for a few days, but the driving experience continued to haunt me (in a good way). I had a talk with the wife and she said she thought the EN was ugly and juvenile looking (she’s not entirely wrong) and that if I was going to swap cars after only two years she wanted it to be something more practical. Naturally I went directly to “well they also put the same powertrain in a CUV” and she instantly gave me her blessing.

I had to spend a couple days finding another Hyundai dealership that wasn’t staffed by punks but I eventually did and the process with them was seamless. They had a black Kona N coming in in a few weeks. I put down a deposit and didn’t think about it for a few days, until suddenly I got a text. The car had come early.

I went out to drive it and found the experience to be just as fun as the EN and liked the overall package more. The dealership was actually great too. I slept on it, worked out a deal via email, then went and picked it up that weekend. I was in and out in about an hour, they gave me a good deal on my trade in, and I used a coupon they posted on their site the day before that me $500 off MSRP and 2.75% APR.

So…there ARE Hyundai dealerships out there that are decent, but it’s definitely one of the last areas they have left to improve on. Honestly I think it’s probably hard to transition from selling econoboxes to selling desirable cars, as you suggest. The Kia dealership network really hurt the Stinger. I’m hoping the Hyundai one doesn’t hurt the Ns, but fortunately they don’t have the supply “issues” (Honda and Toyota are intentionally limiting CTR and GRC production to let their dealers gouge the shit out of customers) that other enthusiast cars do.

You can find ENs and Kona Ns at MSRP or even a little below right now if you take the time to shop around. Which is my last point as to why they’re so appealing…you can actually walk into a dealership and drive away in one. That may never happen with a lot of the competition. Hell people are paying over MSRP for Civic SIs at the moment…and if you do that rather than buying an N you’re an idiot.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago

I don’t understand limiting production for the sake of dealer markups… Why make an extra 3 grand per car and push away customers in the process when you could just… sell more cars? More cars means more customers coming in for repairs you can make money one, and more financing, which makes more than dealer markups anyway. Sounds like the dealerships are doing this just to be dicks, there’s no good excuse for it.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Still angry about the Buick Avista. Amen.

Patrick George
Patrick George
1 year ago

I don’t think this would ever work in H2 form, but if they made it fully EV and gave it that body (or something remarkably close to it) I’d start robbing banks as soon as the press release drops

Ian Case
Ian Case
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick George

Even if instead of the H2 powerplant, they put in something small like a 1.0 or 1.2L turbo that makes 150hp, that would be fabulous. Even if you only put like…. 6 gallon fuel tank in it, that’s enough to get you 200+ miles on gasoline alone and keep you going on long trips.

JTilla
JTilla
1 year ago

Do it! This is THE best looking EV I have ever seen.

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