Mercedes has AMG, BMW has M-GmbH. Ford sticks an ST on the rear of its sporty models. At Hyundai, N stands for Motorsport. There they want to have a sporty electric SUV ready for series production by the end of 2023, which can also conquer the hearts of combustion engine fans. We have already driven one of the prototypes near the Arctic Circle.
Driving an electric car is different. It is almost silent on the road, only at higher speeds do wind and road noise become noticeable. From the engine? Can’t hear anything The acceleration itself is stepless and continuous. Even if it is reminiscent of an automatic transmission because you don’t have to change gears, there are no noticeable gear changes and switching noises. E-cars are fast, comfortable – and mostly boring.
At least for die-hard sports car fans. Which lacks the sonorous sound of the combustion engine and flap exhaust, the babble at idle. You miss the self-determined shifting by hand or steering wheel paddle, the spluttering of the engine when quickly downshifting in double-declutching. The feeling in the steering doesn’t fit and you can’t really drift around corners with the electronically controlled Stromers.
Hyundai’s sports department is now taking the mental needs of motorsport enthusiasts into account and is equipping its first purely electric SUV model with features from the world of combustion engines – electronically imitated, but with a lot of understanding for their sporty customers. One of the two prototypes of the Ioniq 5 N, which we were able to drive these days in the still snow-covered Arjeplog in northern Sweden, already sounds like a real petrol engine. Depending on the speed and engine speed, a sound system generates the right engine sound – still a bit bass-heavy and muffled, but it should sound realistic by the time it is launched on the market at the end of autumn this year. The basic idea is not entirely new – Ford, for example, began many years ago to amplify the engine sound of the Focus ST using an acoustic system, direct it into the interior and thus ensure a sportier sound. The Ioniq 5 N is now trying to do the same through speakers.
But the sound is not the only thing that should ensure a familiar driving experience in the electric Hyundai. An electric car usually pulls through in one go when accelerating – it doesn’t need a gearbox like in a combustion engine. The engineers have now programmed artificial vibrations into the Ioniq 5 N to simulate the feeling of shifting up or down.
The Ioniq 5 N, which is based on the Koreans’ in-house Electrified Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), is the first production vehicle in the Hyundai sports department with all-wheel drive and two motors. This provides numerous options that also make fast driving safer. The electronically controlled locking differential regulates the power transmission to each individual wheel. Sensors on the wheels report in a fraction of a second how much torque each of them needs to have grip. This not only helps to quickly correct the vehicle breaking out of the lane on Swedish ice lakes and when cornering at high speed.
But the engineers in the N department also thought of their sporty customers: a special drift mode can be activated at the touch of a button. The rear of the vehicle breaks away during controlled oversteer, but countersteering keeps it on track. In drift mode, the individual front and rear wheel torque, torque rate, steering effort, suspension stiffness, and traction control work together to deliver optimal drift.
Hyundai isn’t revealing much about the motorization and driving performance of the Ioniq 5 N. It is clear that two electric motors, located on the front and rear axles, will provide propulsion. Likewise, the road holding should be excellent simply because of the low center of gravity thanks to the batteries. It was certainly also helpful that Hyundai was able to draw on its rally experience with the i20 N WRC Rally Car.
The Kia EV6, which is built on the same platform, shows what would be feasible in terms of performance. Its GT version comes from two electric motors to a whopping 430 kW / 585 hp and a torque of 740 Nm. This enables the Kia to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 260 km/h. It remains to be seen how long the battery will last at this speed. But at least the 800-volt system can be recharged relatively quickly.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.