Hyundai’s first true hottie fully hatched

It’s got launch control, heaps of horses … and the styling of Hyundai’s i30 N is pretty good, too.


BORN in Namyang, South Korea, honed on the world’s most famous test track, Germany’s Nurburgring.

That’s how Hyundai is describing its first hot hatch, the i30N, wholly revealed to the world today and set to be on sale here by December.

Hyundai says the i30 N was inspired by its experience in world rally, a discipline it entered in 2014… and the N represents a chicane “the ultimate corner where the i30 N has been tested thoroughly and has proven its ability”.

Although it could just as easily stand for its birthplace – Namyang being the big R and D centre outside Seoul, - and test site; the N-Sport and N performance road car development programmes are based at the Nurburgring.

In a statement, Hyundai said: “Built on the New Generation i30, the i30 N has been developed from the ground up to deliver maximum driving pleasure in everyday life on the road, as well as on the track”.

“The Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package,” says Albert Biermann, Executive Vice President Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division (and former boss at BMW M).

“With the high-performance N models we will enhance our brand’s appeal with emotional products that cater to the needs of people who love to have a smile on their face when they drive their car on a winding road and listen to the sound of the engine. That’s why we measure high-performance in BPM, heart beats per minute instead of only RPM.”

Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with two outputs available, 184kW and 202kW both with 353Nm of torque. The i30 N is front-wheel drive only and is only available with a six-speed manual only. It’ll hit 100kmh from a standing start in 6.2-6.4 seconds depending on the output. Fuel consumption hasn’t been revealed.

Depending which variant you choose – and assuming New Zealand choses to take both - you’ll get either an 18-inch (i30 N sits 4mm lower than standard) or 19-inch (sits 8mm lower than standard) wheel and tyre package, with either Michelin or Pirelli rubber. A limited slip differential and variable exhaust valve system is part of the Performance Package “to provide the optimal race track experience”.

The i30 N offers five driving modes which are displayed on the standard 5.0-inch touchscreen (cost optional 8.0-inch), the modes are: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom (offering Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus). The different modes tweak the engine, the dampers, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Limited Slip Differential (E-LSD), engine sound, steering and rev matching.

In a first for Hyundai, the i30 N gets launch control which is active when in N mode with ESC turned off and the clutch disengaged.

Slot first gear and drop the clutch within five seconds with the throttle pinned to the floor. There’s also rev matching which can be turned on or off via the steering wheel. The i30 N also gets electronic dampers which means ride and handling can be tuned to suit the selected driving mode.

Hyundai has fitted the i30 N with an electronic sound generator and a variable valve exhaust system (but only with the Performance Package). The “twin-outlet active exhaust has several settings, allowing the car to increase the amount of exhaust sound from normal to decidedly powerful,” Hyundai said.

Hyundai New Zealand has already announced that it has signed up Hayden Paddon to be its N ambassador for New Zealand – a fitting role for the N-Sport aligned World Rally Championship works driver.