The Korean manufacturer has finally launched its i30 N, the first model to be developed by its new N performance arm. Available in two levels, the hot hatch’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol mill is tuned to produce either 250hp or 275hp.
Displayed alongside the new i30 Fastback, the upcoming Ford Focus ST rival has been developed with a hard focus on performance. It underwent a lengthy testing period, including more than 9,600km of running on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, under the guidance of Hyundai’s high-performance boss, former BMW M division executive Albert Biermann.
“The i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible, high-performance package,” said Biermann. “With the high-performance N models, we will enhance our brand’s appeal with emotional products that cater to the needs of people who love to have a smile on their face when they drive their car.”
The i30 N features several design changes when compared to the standard five-door i30, with a cascading grille and new aerodynamic features at its front and rear. These include wider intakes and a rear diffuser, with the latter helping to reduce lift at speed. It sits 4mm lower than the regular car and gets twin-exit exhausts at the back, along with 18-inch or optional 19-inch alloys, which sit ahead of the N-labelled brake calipers that signify the car’s high-performance nature.
The base i30 N’s engine, making 250hp at 6,000rpm and 353Nm of torque between 1,450 and 4,500rpm, drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. It is capable of a zero to 100kph time of 6.4 seconds. An optional performance pack bumps maximum power to 275hp, helping to trim the 100kph sprint time to 6.1 seconds – making the i30 N comfortably Hyundai’s quickest model.
The on-paper performance looks to outpunch Ford’s Focus ST and Volkswagen’s Golf GTI. Hyundai has long asserted that its first N car will be capable of withstanding long periods of hard driving on a circuit. It uses an electronic stability control system that can be completely switched off and the 275hp versions get electronically limited slip differential (E-LSD) technology.
The car has five drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport N and N Custom – which can be selected via two buttons on the steering wheel. Cycling through the modes adjusts the car’s damping harshness, engine responses and exhaust volume. The N Custom mode enables drivers to opt for opposing settings for each, such as allowing the car to run with the softest ride but harshest drivetrain mode. The car also features the now popular rev-matching system as well as a launch control mode.
Along with its unique performance additions, including bolstered sports seats, the i30 N also gets Hyundai’s highest-specification cabin technology. This includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satnav and access to Hyundai’s live online services. Smartphone connectivity via Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and a wireless inductive charging pad can be optioned in.
Driver assist features include autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, lane keep assist and high beam assist technology. The car can also recognise road signs and display them in the car’s TFT instrument display cluster.
The i30 N will go on sale in the UK before the end of 2017, with production being handled by Hyundai’s Czech plant in Nošovice.
Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that Hyundai will offer this hot hatch in India.