Wild RM19 Concept Hints at a 390-HP, Mid-Engine, Rear-Drive Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai couldn’t seriously be considering putting something like this on sale . . . right? Right?

The iconic Lancia Delta S4, Peugeot 205 T16, Renault 5 Turbo, MG Metro 6R4, Renaultsport Clio V6 are all high-performance hatchbacks with their engines installed in the unlikeliest of locations—their middles. Some of those were born from rally racing's infamous Group B debauchery in the 1980s, while others were simply evil-genius creations. Hyundai's Veloster might soon join this exclusive club with the latter credentials, and the mid-engined, Veloster-based RM19 concept offers a direct preview of the madness to come.

Amongst the mostly normal new-car launches at this year's Los Angeles auto show, the wild Hyundai concept stood out. Even for onlookers unattuned to the RM19's mid-engine secret, the concept grabbed eyeballs with its pseudo-race-car appearance and wild graphics. Surely Hyundai isn't actually thinking of putting a car like this RM19 on sale . . . right?

That is exactly, it seems, what the Korean automaker is hinting at. And the eventual car would be mid-engined, just like the RM19 and sit above the bonkers Veloster N in the Veloster lineup. Except that, where the Veloster's rear seats usually are, the concept packs the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the Hyundai TCR race car. This fire-breathing four-cylinder spits out 390 horsepower, which are sent through a six-speed sequential transmission to the rear wheels. (The production Veloster lineup is front-wheel-drive, with, if it needs pointing out, the engine mounted in its nose.) Performance is said to be predictably strong, with the trip to 60 mph taking "less than four seconds" and a quoted top speed of 155 mph.

Were Hyundai to follow through on putting the RM into production, it would do so in the near future. The brand believes it would make an excellent halo car for the nascent N performance brand and, more specifically, for the Veloster lineup. Naturally, you can expect a production model to be far, far less aggressive and apparently track-prepped than the RM19—at least visually.

Believe it or not, this isn't the first time Hyundai has teased us with a mid-engined hatchback. It first toyed with the idea in 2012, then again in 2014 with the RM14, and again in 2015 with the RM15, and most recently in 2016 with the RM16. Let's hope the idea finally takes off, because if Automobile's Four Seasons 2019 Veloster N is anything to go by, hotted-up Hyundais are becoming desirable and fun. An RM19-ified version would be even more so.