Hyundai Isn’t Done With the Mid-Engined RM19 Superhatch - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Hyundai Isn’t Done With the Mid-Engined RM19 Superhatch

Road-car production of the RM19 Superhatch is probably still a couple years out (at least), and that’s a very good thing

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Hyundai’s mid-engined halo car has a history that dates back nearly a decade, and that’s just the history that we know about. It’s been more than a year since we really last heard about what was going on with the car – now known as the RM19 Concept – but we’ve finally heard something fresh. As it turns out, Hyundai didn’t forget about it. On the contrary, the company has actually been busy making some modifications that includes a new engine. Does that mean more power?

Bigger Engine, Less Power – is the RM19 Still Relevant?

Hyundai Isn't Done With the Mid-Engined RM19 Superhatch Exterior
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Is the RM19 still relevant? Yeah, you can bet it is, but Hyundai hasn’t even perfected it quite yet. What started out with the Veloster-based RM14 back in 2014 has culminated into the RM19 with benchmarks, so to speak, that carried the RM15 and RM16 names. The RM19 was so good with nearly 400 horsepower, that when it was time for the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show to kick-off, Hyundai skipped right over RM17 and RM18. Okay, I’m kidding, I don’t know why Hyundai skipped over those two designations, but it did nonetheless. Now, however, Jean Pierre Kraemer, from the tuning firm JP Performance, has exposed some new information.

He sat down with none other than Albert Biermann, the Head of Research and Development for both Hyundai and Kia. Littles bits of cool information include that there are a total of two functioning prototypes, with one living in Korea and the other in Europe.

However, what’s really interesting is that the prototype that Kraemer got up and closer with featured a 2.3-liter engine.

All the previous RM concepts featured a 2.0-liter four-banger, with the RM19 borrowing its from the Veloster N TCR race car. This specific model, however, pumped out right around 350 horsepower, some 40 shy of the current RM19 that we’ve been itching to see yet again.

Hyundai Isn't Done With the Mid-Engined RM19 Superhatch Exterior
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Looking beyond the different engine and reduction in power, the revised prototype also features an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic vs. the six-speed sequential in the original RM19. According to Biermann, the engine and transmission combination – even being down some 40 ponies – gives the sports car “enormous charm.” The engine can reportedly rev up to 7,000 rpm and delivers some 339 pound-feet from 2,000 rpm. 0-62 mph came in 4.3 seconds, but a Hyundai employee has dispatched that same sprint in 3.88 seconds, so we can probably get over that decrease in horsepower.

Engine 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Power 350 HP
Torque 339 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.3 seconds
Hyundai Isn't Done With the Mid-Engined RM19 Superhatch Exterior
- image 873475

It should also be noted that in this video, the car was also being driven on public roads with a legitimate license plate, which means it’s pretty close to production. It has apparently cost the company some $590,000 to build just one RM19 prototype and the production model, when it finally happens will set you back about the cost of a Porsche 718 GTS while giving you 718 GT4 performance – that sounds like a pretty good bang for my buck.

In the end, it seems that Hyundai is worried more about perfecting this mid-engined halo car as opposed to delivering something as soon as it possibly can, and that is a very good thing. It might take a decade of research, development, and testing, but Hyundai will eventually have a mid-engined hatchback capable of dispatching 60 mph in less than four seconds. That’s pretty damn cool.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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