The new i30 N is a spicy hatchback pickled in vigour, with a generous dash of German engineering and a sprinkle of WRC glitter.
The five-door pocket rocket is the first model in Hyundai’s N lineup of high-performance vehicles, which are “born in Namyang” (the company’s global R&D centre) and “honed at the Nurburgring” (the renowned racetrack where the automaker has its own test centre).
Under the bonnet is a turbocharged 2-litre 4-cylinder motor that produces 353Nm and either 250bhp (Standard Package) or 275bhp (Performance Package). The higher-powered version takes 6.1 seconds to do 0-to-100km/h, compared to 6.4 seconds for the lower-powered version. Both versions have a top speed of 250km/h.
The front-drive powertrain features a 6-speed short-travel manual gearbox, a rev-matching function, a dual-muffler variable exhaust system, a “strong clutch that is built to last” and an “early responding turbocharger”. There’s also an electronic sound generator to “provide some extra acoustic drama to match the mood of the driver”.
Every trick in the hot-hatch cookbook has been applied to the i30 N, such as an electronically controlled suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, sporty front seats in a combination of suede and leather, a stiffness bar behind the rear seats, launch control, and a choice of high-performance tyres (Michelin 18-inch or Pirelli 19-inch). The car also offers five drive modes to suit individual needs/wants and different driving conditions.
The newcomer’s cockpit highlights include a semi-digital instrument cluster, a ball-type gearknob and an optional 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with key performance-related information.
The man in charge of Hyundai N is Albert Biermann, a hugely experienced German engineer who used to tune BMW M cars. He said, “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.”