The N division isn't messing around. Hyundai's relatively new performance arm has been putting out some of the most exciting and affordable performance cars on the market, such as the Kona N, Elantra N, and the upcoming Ioniq 5 N. Now, Hyundai is giving its N performance models a track-focused carbon fiber hybrid wheel option, courtesy of its newfound partnership with Dymag and Hankuk Carbon.
Dymag has been making lightweight performance wheels since the '70s and recently, with help from composites partner Hankuk, it's been making carbon fiber wheels. Hyundai recently partnered with the two brands to create an OEM carbon hybrid wheel for N cars, the first of which was shown at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.
What's a carbon fiber hybrid wheel? It's essentially a two-piece wheel, with a carbon fiber outer rim and a forged aluminum/magnesium alloy centerpiece. Dymag claims this combination wheel is 40% to 50% lighter than a traditional cast aluminum wheel while also being stiffer and stronger.
The weight reduction and increased stiffness should theoretically pay dividends on both road and track. The lighter weight reduces unsprung, rotational mass, which would make the car not only lighter but feel sharper, with improved steering feel. Not only is the hybrid wheel stronger than a regular aluminum rim, but Dymag also claims that the hybrid wheel offers superior strength to one that is fully carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber wheels have been criticized by some for their catastrophic failure when they do crack. Also, cracks are harder to find in a carbon fiber wheel than in an alloy wheel. Gordon Murray even opposed carbon wheels for those reasons. However, aluminum wheels can deform over harsh impacts on track. Dymag claims the hybrid wheel is better than both, while also improving noise, vibration, and harshness.
At the moment, Dymag and Hankuk offer carbon fiber hybrid wheels ranging from 18 to 23 inches in diameter, with 24- and 25-inch wheels coming later.
There's no word on which Hyundai N cars will get the carbon fiber hybrid wheel option first, or if they all get it simultaneously, but my guess would be the electric Ioniq 5 N. Not only did Hyundai also reveal that car at Goodwood, but it's Hyundai's hot performance car of the moment. Plus, I imagine Hyundai wants to throw its best performance tech at its first-ever electric performance car.
Got tips? Send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org