Hyundai Praises Its Veloster N, Starts A War With VW After Dishing The Golf GTI

 

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.

Hyundai Veloster N

Volkswagen Golf GTI

  • LWOAP

    I assume you mean dissing right?

    Anyway, that’s pretty ballsy of Biermann to say that. Of course, I do think this is merely a stunt to get attention directed at Hyundai. That being said, I feel as though the GTI is no longer the benchmark for judging hot hatches considering the Type R all but stole it’s lunch money.

    • Matt

      GTI hasn’t been the performance hatch benchmark for a while (at least in Europe), but it is still considered by many to be the ‘benchmark’ for everyday comfort and practicality as well as driving fun.

      • OdysseyTag

        Out of curiosity what would you say the benchmark is? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the potential in N-Sport but in which part of the world is the Type R, ST or any other FWD hatch considered the yardstick?

        • Matt

          If we’re talking strictly FWD hot hatches – I’d say the outgoing Megane 275 is hard to beat for pure ability and rawness. The Type-R is probably the new ‘benchmark’ for performance though. The GTI has kind of always been the best all-round hatch. Not too aggressive, easy to drive/own and comfortable as an everyday driver. VW have the AWD ‘R’ for a true Golf hot hatch, but even that is considered too refined (and possibly more of a hyper-hatch) The SEAT Cupra R is probably the best FWD VAG makes right now.

          • OdysseyTag

            Luckily there’s quite a few options out there, each which play off certain strengths. I’d say the 275 is pretty much the type of hatch that Biermann refers to when he speaks of one which is track focused. That already gives us a good idea for what we’re in for with the Veloster N which sounds great. However I think the cars you mentioned overcompensate in areas essential to get right in its class (agressive looks, fun handling etc.) without ticking off what the GTI has somewhat perfected (which is as you mentioned being an all-rounder). I’ve always maintained there’s a reason why the GTI through it’s 7 iterations has never been the flashiest (or wildest) of the bunch in that it tries to be all things to all men. I don’t think that should be understated. Having said that I agree that those you’ve mentioned have every bit a chance of becoming the new benchmark, so much so I find it ironic how VW have woken up to this in the form of the Clubsport, Clubsport S and R.

            All in all, I’d say VW has fallen off the wayside in probably every other segment out there (including the hyperhatches), but as for standard hothatches, they’re still the one to beat.

    • fabri99

      Being a non-native speaker, I felt stupid when I read dishing and had no idea what they meant. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Six_Tymes

    they didn’t finish building this new site apparently. I don’t know about anyone else but when on chrome there is no ability to toggle through the images.

    • possibly a plugin misfiring, missing the lightbox function perhaps..

  • Bash

    Even thought I like this, but the GTI will be always my favorite as an all around hot hatch.

  • DR.FUNK

    …after DISSING the GOLF GTI?

  • no25

    CS, typos in the title, new site in non chronological order of articles, cant toggle through images – whats going on? trash.

  • That’s really over confident, shame I thought I like Biermanns’s work but simply dissing Golf GTI it ain’t right.

  • Jason Miller

    I’ll bet they can make it past 50k miles and still be reliable, unlike the VW.

  • Try as they may but the Golf GTI runs this segment and is a perennial benchmark. Looks the part too.

  • eb110americana

    I’d take a Veloster over a GTI. The GTI is boring to look at, makes 55 fewer horses, and will have reliability problems before the Veloster’s warranty even expires. Yes, the GTI has more room and a slightly nicer interior, and it’s the established hot-hatch, I don’t care. Give me the fun one and no regrets!

    • Silimarina

      You are just presuming.You are presuming that the GTI is less reliable and you are presuming that hyundai is more reliable.As far as i know the GTI engine is a good engine.I did not heard of any major issues for this engine.This VW engine has over 10 years since was developed.The one in the Hyndai is much younger

  • donald seymour

    Oh snap, let the war begin.

  • anonymous

    Always been a GTI fan since Mk5, but current crop of sub-300bhp FWD hot hatches are starting to grab my attention more, i30N and Megane RS in particular. I know Golf GTI has a potential (hint: Check out GTI Clubsport and Clubsport S), but I feel like VW sandbagged the true capability of GTI.

  • D83

    So, once they launched it, they can be cocky. Because of the performacne test?? or Nurburgring laptime?? or just by positive review from many reviewers?? Please prove it, Hyundai..

  • “When asked about what on VW’s hot hatch falls apart when being driven spiritedly, Biermann simply said “everything.” – to be fair, all reviews I’ve read of the standard GTI (not Performance Package equipped), it’s a pretty boring hot hatch. Does the ordinary perfectly well but the fun, not so. More or less just a faster Golf.

    • Matt

      What does boring have to do with things breaking off?

      • It’s not being referred to things literally breaking off, more the car can’t physically cope with being pushed hard I.e. easy loss of traction, understeer etc…

  • Ron

    There is no way I’d drive that kitted up Hyundai wannabe over a GTI.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    um… that is not a good looking car, sorry.

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