It’s been four years in the making, but Hyundai has finally revealed what it hopes to be the next great hot hatch.
The i30 N is the product of years of motorsports research, including Hyundai’s World Rally Championship entries and a couple of attempts at the fearsome Nurburgring 24 Hours.
Based on the i30 family hatchback, the i30 N has been thoroughly reworked by Hyundai’s new performance division, catchily titled ‘N’.
The i30 N sports a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which packs 247bhp in the standard car and up to 271bhp in the Performance Package model. This drives a six-speed manual gearbox which delivers every drop of power to the front wheels alone.
On paper, this means a 0-60mph time of around six seconds, and the i30 N is limited to a top speed of 155mph. A launch control system is available to ensure perfect starts every time.
With electronic controlled suspension, an electronic limited slip diff that promises a 5 per cent increase in cornering speeds, a switchable rev-matching downshift function and a variable exhaust valve system with ‘after-burn’ sound, the i30 N promises to be a proper hot hatch. A special ‘N’ button sets all of the cars functions into maximum attack mode.
In the cabin, the i30 N offers an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation and a performance display that includes power, torque, boost and lap-time readings. The N mode menu allows the driver to select custom settings for the engine, suspension, steering, diff, rev-matching, exhaust and stability control.
It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless phone charging pad and a seven-year subscription to Hyundai LIVE services, which includes real time weather, traffic and, probably most usefully in a hot hatch, speed camera data.
Safety assists like autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping and traffic sign recognition are also standard, as is an auto high beam headlight function.
Hyundai derives the ‘N’ name for its performance division from both the company’s Namyang R&D centre in Korea and the Nurburgring, home to Hyundai’s Testing Centre. During the car’s development, test mules would rack up almost 500 laps of the ‘Ring each in just four weeks, as part of a 120,000-mile accelerated durability test program.
The i30 N has also been entered into the Nurburgring 24 Hours twice, to test powertrain components and suspension settings. This all probably means that the car will inevitably have a Nurburgring lap time associated to it.
There’s no word on price yet, but the i30 N should launch across Europe by the end of 2017.