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Hyundai won’t build a sports car, but it wants to get into the performance game

In the past decade, Hyundai has made great strides. It’s gone from a bargain brand to one with a diverse lineup that includes everything from the Genesis luxury sedan to the hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell.

Yet there’s one area Hyundai hasn’t put much effort into: performance.

Sure, the Korean carmaker has its Genesis Coupe (pictured above) and claims other models were designed with a pinch of sportiness, but but it’s never managed to pull off anything truly spectacular.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that Hyundai is saying “no” to a rumored sports car, although it says it has other performance models in mind.

Speaking to Autocar, the company’s U.K. chief said a sports car would be too much of a risk.

It would also cause some issues if sister brand Kia ever decides to put the sleek GT4 Stinger concept into production.

Instead, Hyundai reportedly wants to develop sporty versions of its existing models.

Hyundai is now heavily involed in the World Rally Championship, and apparently wants to imbue some of its road cars with the character of rally cars.

The Subaru WRX and (sorely missed) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution make a pretty good case for that.

Hyundai has been thinking about this since at least 2013, when it announced a new performance division called N.

There hasn’t been much discussion of N since then, but presumably it would tie into this plan as Hyundai’s equivalent of BMW M and other lettered performance sub-brands.

No specific models are being discussed, but Hyundai hints that sporty versions of the i20 and i40 are possible. Neither of those models are sold in the U.S.

It’s also unclear when (or if) Hyundai plans to launch a new version of the Genesis coupe to match the recently-redesigned sedan, and use that opportunity to make the car sportier.