Hyundai executives have confirmed the company is working on a high-performance, two-seat sports car that will be powered by a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain.
Speaking to Australia's Drive.com.au at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, chief designer Luc Donkerwolke said the South Korean manufacturer is "not going to go autonomous for all cars just yet" -- a reference to cars that buck the much-hyped trend toward self-driving vehicles.
Thus far, Hyundai's sportiest offering has been the now-defunct Genesis Coupe, but it has given us a taste of what its chassis engineers are capable of in the Elantra Sport, a small sedan that offers distinctly European handling performance.
Yang Woong Chui, Hyundai's VP for research and development, confirmed Donkerwolke's comments. He said the car will be a two-seater (which would make it the brand's first-ever North American production model without a back seat) and will derive its performance from a PHEV powerplant.
"We would like to minimise as much as possible the use of IC engines and use as much as possible the electric motors," said Yang. "Then, in many ways - not just for efficiency, but for performance - it can very much be optimised using both powertrains. Certainly we will put some electric engines in there."
As for what kind of performance level the company is striving for, Drive.com's sources say the company has been benchmarking cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Huracan at its vehicle development centre in Namyang.
"It is pretty high performance," said Yang. "It is serious."
But Neither Yang nor Donkerwolke could say what badge the car would wear, other than to indicate the people behind the brand's new N performance division are involved in the car's development.