For now though, Biermann sounds like he wants to turn the fire-breathing RM19 into an ultra-performance halo car that could be sitting in dealerships within a few years.
"It's possible to build a production version, but it would be expensive and in small numbers," he said. Perhaps, he added, it would better after the "N community" grows with new product and visibility.
The performance offshoot was established in 2015 and its philosophy is that N vehicles must have the performance and durability for sustained driving on a racetrack. One step down is the N-Line, with performance and appearance upgrades, but not track-level ability.
So far, the only N car in the U.S. is the Veloster, but Biermann said a crossover will get the N treatment shortly. It will have a new eight-speed automatic transmission that will also make its way into the Veloster N, currently sold only with a manual.
The RM19 prototype is rear-wheel drive with the motor sitting where the back seat would be in a regular, front-wheel-drive Veloster N. The RM19 has a more powerful version of the Veloster's turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine, making 390 hp. It also has a racing transmission that uses a clutch and paddle shifters.
Biermann said the next iteration of the RM19 is moving toward a new turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with the eight-speed automatic. Basic versions of those components can be found in a Sonata N-Line going on sale in fall 2020 that was previewed to the media this month.
Biermann admits the RM19 would be a pretty wild ride for street use — but it's headed in that direction.
"At this point, there's no decision this car will ever go to the marketplace," he said. "But we are getting closer now."
Tonawanda's mark will live forever on the engine of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette.
Each midengine Corvette has a chrome placard on the valve cover reading, "Built by Chevrolet Tonawanda the number 1 team."
The original small block V-8 engine was built at Tonawanda Engine Plant in Buffalo, N.Y., more than 60 years ago.
General Motors President Mark Reuss had bought Tonawanda pride stickers for his personal engine restoration projects. Minutes before the Corvette engineering team began a July media event at the plant, announcing that Tonawanda would build the eighth-generation Corvette's engine, Reuss asked them to create a similar badge for each engine.
"Mark was so insistent that we show off the American ingenuity and the pride that we have in this engine," said Mike Kociba, assistant chief engineer for small block engines. "He wants to call back to the heritage of Tonawanda from the '60s."
An hour later, the team had a mock-up badge design to show Reuss at the event.
"We're very proud of our heritage," said Kociba. "A lot of American pride goes into small blocks in general and of course with the Corvette, the LT2 engine, we're going to continue that heritage."
Tonawanda has about 1,500 workers who build engines for the Chevy Corvette, Camaro, Malibu, Colorado, Equinox, Traverse, Impala, Silverado, Suburban and Tahoe, among other vehicles.
Editor's note: Mike Kociba's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.