Unless you’re won over by the retro appeal of a Mini Cooper S, there is no good reason not to get a Ford Fiesta ST. If it’s a small hot hatch you’re after, nothing else comes close. Hyundai, of all companies, might be about to change that, though.
Following a teaser released a few months ago that gave us a chance to hear the car’s beefy soundtrack, the i20 N has been spotted undergoing testing at the Nurburgring. It’s lost yet more camouflage, providing a clear look at the front splitter, side skirts and neat little rear wing. Unlike its big brother, it ditches the twin rear tailpipes from a single, large oval.
As for what’ll be exhaling through that exhaust, there are two main theories. The i20 N could use a detuned version of the i30 N’s 2.0-litre inline-four turbo engine, and indeed, the hotter i20 did sound an awful lot like the larger vehicle in that recent teaser. The Hyundai ‘Theta’ is a big and relatively heavy engine for a small car, though, so a hopped-up version of the 1.6-litre ‘Gamma’ unit might be the i20 N’s power source.
An output of 200bhp or so would be right on the money to wade into battle with the Fiesta ST. The Ford also has the option of a limited-slip differential with its Performance Pack, so don’t be surprised if Hyundai offers the i20 N with the electronically-controlled locking diff first seen in the i30 N.
The N range is quickly expanding. We already have the i30 N and the Veloster N (the latter now available with a manual gearbox too), and while cooking up the i20 N, the South Korean company is also readying a 247bhp Kona N. Because apparently, Hyundai needs to rival the Puma ST as well as the Fiesta. Show-off.
Which of the growing N range would you have?