We’re not sure the term ‘all the gear, no idea’ really works for modern performance cars. A lot of them are so accessible these days, that we’ve always wondered if someone relatively inexperienced at track driving could get in and bang out some respectable lap times.
To put this to the test, we hatched a plan. Into the new Hyundai i20 N hot hatch we installed Ethan Smale, our head of production who isn’t the least bit interested in driving. He was sent out on Llandow circuit in Wales to lay down a hot lap time, which CT editor-in-chief Alex Kersten was tasked with beating. In another i20 with a 1.0-litre inline-three.
It may have a turbo, but this mild-hybrid triple is still way down on power compared to the i20 N’s 1.6, producing 118bhp. The N on the other hand is good for 202bhp, power which will go to the tarmac with minimal fuss thanks to the addition of a mechanical limited-slip differential.
The i20 N is also lower and stiffer and sits on wider, stickier tyres. Plenty of tools, in other words, to help Ethan make up for his lack of experience. And just to see what the N is really capable of, Alex also had a go in the faster of the two cars to lay down a benchmark time to compare to Ethan’s best effort.
We won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say, it’s pretty close. And if you like the look of the N and how it handled itself on track, how’s this for some good news - we’re giving one away. Enter below for your chance to win a shiny, brand-new Hyundai N!