Hyundai’s N performance sub-brand is looking like the real deal with the i30 N and the recently-released 275-horsepower Veloster N. Despite being the South Korean brand’s first attempt at hot hatches, the automaker is extremely confident. So confident, in fact, that it has started a hot-hatch war with Volkswagen.
According to Australia’s Motoring, Albert Biermann, the head of Hyundai’s N division, told Australian journalists that the Golf GTI isn’t capable of handling a track day. Biermann, though, claimed that the new Veloster and Veloster N were created with track driving in mind.
“There can be [Golf] GTIs that are suitable for the track driving, but if you take the standard GTI, it’s not like that,” said Biermann at the Detroit Auto Show. “So with the N we clearly want to be more suitable for track driving, and give it more character and the most important thing – make it more fun to drive.”
More specifically, the head of the automaker’s performance brand claimed the Golf GTI fell apart after a few laps around a track. When asked about what on VW’s hot hatch falls apart when being driven spiritedly, Biermann simply said “everything.”
Going after the benchmark of the segment on your second attempt is quite bold, and those statements obviously upset Michael Bartsch, Volkswagen Australia’s managing director, who recently had something to say to Biermann.
In a new report, Motoring says that Bartsch shrugged off Biermann’s statements as rubbish. “Extraordinary claims are being made for supposed rivals that are not yet on sale,” Bartsch stated. “While any skunkworks can turn out a track day special, the expertise and experience required to engineer a GTI or an R – cars that also excel in the real world – is rather more hard won.”
Bickering between two high-up executives is rare, as automakers usually have boiler-plate responses when another company believes their product is better. But it proves that Biermann and the crew at Hyundai’s N brand really do believe they have a winner on their hands with the Veloster N.