Hyundai’s big-fun i30N hot hatch has been updated with more power, more torque and the option of a dual-clutch automatic transmission - of which we recently drove the prototype.
Previously the manual-only car had come with either 246bhp or 271bhp, depending on the specific market, but now the upper figure – for the Performance Pack model – lifts by a token 5bhp to 276bhp. Perhaps more interesting is the more potent version’s 29lb ft torque boost, still at 1950-4600rpm. It should just feel a little perkier.
That statement is backed up by Hyundai’s own figures, which chop 0.2 seconds off the car’s 0-62mph time and bring the key off-the-lights launch down to a deeply impressive 5.9 seconds. It’s a front-wheel drive hatchback, remember. However, some of that speed might be down the new gearbox option.
New to the i30 N is a wet-type eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, built to allow the engine’s full torque to be transmitted through each ratio. It features clever bits of tech that, thanks to the N Grin Shift (NGS) and N Power Shift (NPS) systems, over-boost the turbo for a tangible ‘push’ feeling during full-chat upshifts. The shifts are tuned to emulate those of a manual, but NGS fills the torque gap with lovely boost and, ultimately, makes it a faster car. Brace for one final acronym, with N Track Sense Shift (NTS – not NTSS, for some reason), which can automatically detect when you’re driving on track and will adjust the gearbox behaviour to suit maximum attack mode.
There are five driving modes on any i30N, from the why-bother Eco and the civilised Normal to our everyday Sport, then full-banana N mode and lastly N Custom, which allows the driver to choose with aspects of the drive they want to be on the naughty side and which they want to be less so.
Only cars with the Performance Pack will get the e-LSD, and those cars also now come with 15-larger front brakes, now up to 360mm. Not only that, the Performance variant adds new 19-inch forged alloys that shave a chunky 14.4kg of unsprung mass off the outgoing cast-alloy wheels. These new lightweight rims come wrapped in bespoke Pirelli P-Zero tyres.
Another new lightweight option comes with a seating upgrade. The part-leather, part-Alcantara N Light Seats are 2.2kg lighter than the standard items and come stacked with big side bolsters for maximum cornering support, as well as an illuminated (why?) N logo on the integrated headrest.
As for further options, we like the sound of a new 10.25-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It features neat touches like Connected Routing, Last-Mile Navigation to help you know which way to head when you leave the car, and there’s also live parking information where available.