The N Vision 74 highlights fascinating tech progress. But in the more immediate future, Hyundai is under huge pressure to bring a car (with any powertrain) that looks like this one to market. We can’t wait.
Even if it weren’t driveable, the Hyundai N Vision 74 could just be one of the most interesting and important new concept cars in years. When unveiled, it virtually melted the Internet, such was the interest shown in this bold, retro-inspired – but also futuristic – street racer-style coupé.
Yet it does drive, on a mix of both hydrogen and electricity, and we’ve just had a passenger run in it as Hyundai’s test driver held a huge, tyre-smoking powerslide for what felt like minutes. Now it’s our turn to get behind the wheel.
But first, consider just what makes this car so special. Its design takes inspiration from Hyundai’s first-ever homegrown model, the Pony of 1974. The production car was a saloon, but alongside it was the idea for a coupé, also styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, which never got past the prototype stage. Fast forward to 2022, and Hyundai’s designers have fused the style of that model with cyberpunk, and a look influenced by tuned Japanese cars, into a stunning shape with a strong focus on aerodynamics.
Under the skin, the N Vision 74 is at the cutting edge of Hyundai’s technology – and it’s virtually priceless. It’s a hydrogen-electric hybrid, with a fuel-cell stack mounted over the front wheels, a T-shaped 62.4kWh battery positioned low down in the centre of the car, and a pair of electric motors on the rear axle. Two 2.1kg hydrogen tanks are mounted above them.
The really clever part of the N Vision 74 is how the two energy sources work together – sometimes independently, sometimes with one taking the lead over the other, and vice versa. For normal driving at speed, the car is usually powered by the fuel cell, but the battery provides the major performance boost, and also often propels the vehicle in an urban environment. The total combined output is a huge 671bhp, along with 900Nm of torque, while 0-62mph takes a mere four seconds and the top speed is more than 155mph.
Driving the N Vision 74, even as a concept, is very exciting indeed. Once nestled down inside the cosy, boldly styled cockpit, all you can hear is the whirr of the fans that push the hydrogen through the stack and the cooling set-up. We set off in normal mode, and the car’s shattering performance is obvious, in spite of its weight of around two tonnes. The accurate, well weighted steering impresses, too, and the concept corners flatly, with just enough body roll to hint at what the chassis is doing.
Switch to Track mode, and this largely silent coupé goes wild, with drifting available virtually anywhere and at any speed. It’s unlike any other high-performance car you can think of; it feels hyper agile and very, very sideways. Clearly, the hydrogen infrastructure must improve a lot before a car such as the N Vision 74 is viable, but this tantalising glimpse of a potential future is cause for real optimism.
|Model:||Hyundai N Vision 74|
|Powertrain:||62.4kWh battery/2x e-motors|