Fun and engaging take priority over unbridled speed

The Hyundai Veloster N was a surprise attendee at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. A lot of people weren’t expecting to see it but were thankful anyway when they did. As the second model to get the N performance treatment, the Veloster N is a lot of things. It’s fast, engaging, and a lot of fun to drive. One thing it isn’t, though, is record-breaking. It’s not breaking any lap records at the Nurburgring because it wasn’t developed to do so. That strategy was intentional because, in Hyundai’s eyes, Nurburgring lap records are "a waste of time."

Hyundai Veloster N Isn't Interested in Nurburgring Titles Exterior
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"We developed it for driving fun, for nice challenging mountain roads or a tiny challenging race track"

If history has shown us anything, it’s that there are more than enough ways to determine the essence of “fun” when driving a hot hatchback. Some automakers prefer record-breaking speed on the track. Some automakers prefer a more laid-back hot hatch that’s more suitable on the open road.

Based on what Hyundai’s saying, the Veloster N fits more into the latter category. "Driving enjoyment is the whole point of an N car," Albert Biermann, president and head of Performance Development and High-Performance Vehicle Division, Hyundai Motor Group, told Road and Track. "We developed it for driving fun, for nice challenging mountain roads or a tiny challenging race track. We don’t care about lap times. If you’re going for lap times, the aero settings are different, the suspension setting is different. It’s faster for a professional driver, but it’s not as enjoyable. We don’t care for that. We want many people to enjoy this N experience, people who might not have driven a sporty car before."

Biermann’s position is valid because the pursuit of record lap times at the ‘Ring is just one aspect of a hot hatch’s appeal. It doesn’t define what the car is capable of when it’s out on the streets or on challenging mountain roads. So in lieu of turning the Veloster N into a Nurburgring conqueror, Hyundai opted to put its focus on giving the hot hatch top-shelf dynamic responsiveness, the kind that makes it easy for customers to play with the car in any type of setting.

Hyundai Veloster N Isn't Interested in Nurburgring Titles Exterior
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As alluring as a lap record in the world’s most famous race track sounds, it doesn't define what a hot hatchback should be.

Some people may not like Hyundai’s approach with the Veloster N, but it is good to see a company that isn’t blinded by the mystique of a Nurburgring lap record. It shows that Hyundai is thinking of bigger and more important things to give to its new hot hatch. As alluring as a lap record in the world’s most famous race track sounds, it doesn’t define what a hot hatchback should be. Drivability, engagement, and enjoyment do.

These aspects can be seen on the road, away from stopwatches and onboard videos. This is where Hyundai put its focus in developing the Veloster N. It’s the absolute right call to make because it sends a statement to the business that there’s more to the Veloster N than the glitz and glamour of a Nurburgring lap record.

References

Hyundai Veloster

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Source: Road and Track

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