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While BMW has its M division, now Hyundai has announced its own N sub-brand. No, it doesn’t stand for Notorsport, but for Namyang, Hyundai’s head R&D centre in Korea. Headquartered in Alzenau, Germany, Hyundai N will field a series of high-performance road-going models in the near future.

The new line of go-faster, more dynamically-focussed Hyundais will hopefully bridge the brand’s biggest downfall so far – its lack of emotional link to its customers. It will then act as a halo sub-brand to liven up the company’s image. Hyundai’s newly opened Nurburgring test centre will play a crucial role in this venture.

No word yet on which model will receive the N treatment first, but it’s only logical to look at the i20 B-segment hatchback – Hyundai’s model of choice in its much-hyped return to WRC. The N moniker makes its debut on said rally contender too, which is pictured here in its full competition livery.

The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team will take on Sebastian Ogier and co. in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship, which starts with the Rallye Monte-Carlo next month. Driving the lead i20 WRC will be the fast-rising rally star Thierry Neuville, who finished (a distant) second to champion Ogier this year.