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Sports top: The N line will top the performance tree, but more SR offerings are on the way.

As countdown starts for N line, Hyundai’s SR line will continue to grow in parallel

Hyundai logo17 Oct 2016

By TIM ROBSON

AS HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) gears up for the arrival of its long-awaited dedicated performance car line-up, the car-maker says that its warmed over SR line will continue to expand.

Speaking at the launch of the Elantra SR Turbo, HCMA director of marketing Oliver Mann said that growing the SR brand was just as important as promoting the incoming N cars.

“It’s (Elantra) one more car in the SR family,” he said. “With each car, I think we’re underscoring our credentials a little bit. It’s a credit to both the engineers in Korea and also I think the local tuning team have doing a smashing job in providing a real competitive advantage for us there.”

HMCA’s parent company is renowned for its pragmatic, cautious approach, and Mr Mann told GoAuto that while the pace of improvement will pick up, the ‘steady as she goes’ mantra would still apply.

“It would be an easy thing to get wrong, and that it’s a very painstaking approach they take,” he said. “I think they have a fairly unique capability, in particular with the team which includes (renowned suspension expert) David Potter and some of the software and information he has at his disposal, and his own personal history of working on performance vehicles. That’s where his special expertise lies. He loved going to grips with Elantra.”

Mr Mann suggested that further tuning changes to Hyundai models, such as ECU retunes and engine enhancements, were unlikely to take place at a local level, despite the Australian team’s documented successes over the past four years.

“It becomes problematic because the durability testing is so rigorous that, honestly, the factory is reluctant to sign off on changes that are going to potentially impact the brakes or burn the transmission,” said Mr Mann. “That's a doorway that isn’t really open to us.”

The brand currently offers SR-badged versions of the Accent, Veloster, i30 and Santa Fe locally, and Mr Mann was receptive to the idea that a modified version of the Tucson mid-size SUV would be well received.

“I think I saw (executive vice president for vehicle testing and high performance development, Albert Biermann) quoted as saying he thought it would be a pretty cool thing too,” said Mr Mann.

“The Santa Fe, we do an SR version, which is a toe in the water honestly. Could we do a Tucson? I don’t know. We'll have to see. Tucson is very young in its lifecycle. (Mr Biermann) hasn't actually been asked to do it yet. It's not on the radar.”

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