For now though, Biermann sounds like he wants to turn the fire-breathing RM19 into an ultra-performance halo car that could be sitting in dealerships within a few years.
“It’s possible to build a production version, but it would be expensive and in small numbers,” he said. Perhaps, he added, it would better after the “N community” grows with new product and visibility.
The performance offshoot was established in 2015 and its philosophy is that N vehicles must have the performance and durability for sustained driving on a racetrack. One step down is the N-Line, with performance and appearance upgrades, but not track-level ability.
So far, the only N car in the U.S. is the Veloster, but Biermann said a crossover will get the N treatment shortly. It will have a new eight-speed automatic transmission that will also make its way into the Veloster N, currently sold only with a manual.
The RM19 prototype is rear-wheel drive with the motor sitting where the back seat would be in a regular, front-wheel-drive Veloster N. The RM19 has a more powerful version of the Veloster’s turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine, making 390 hp. It also has a racing transmission that uses a clutch and paddle shifters.
Biermann said the next iteration of the RM19 is moving toward a new turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with the eight-speed automatic. Basic versions of those components can be found in a Sonata N-Line going on sale in fall 2020 that was previewed to the media this month.
Biermann admits the RM19 would be a pretty wild ride for street use — but it’s headed in that direction.
“At this point, there’s no decision this car will ever go to the marketplace,” he said. “But we are getting closer now.”