Don’t think the i30 hatch is quite smart-looking enough? Hyundai clearly agrees, hence why they’ve added a Fastback to the family. But will it come here?
UNCERTAINTY about availability, engine choices and whether it would steal sales from the Elantra is flavouring Hyundai New Zealand thought potential of a just unveiled additional variant of the i30.
In addition to the hatchback that is just about to come on sale locally and was previewed by MotoringNetwork on July 6, plus a wagon confirmed for NZ sale around September, Hyundai has now shown off a Fastback edition, also a five door but with a lower, sportier body than the regular i30.
The new shape is not an adaptation of the hatchback metal work, the brand has reinforced.
At 4455mm, the body is 115mm longer than the hatch’s and every exterior panel is different. And ‘lower’ means exactly that: Patently the roof is 25mm closer to the deck than on the five-door - the Fastback measuring 1425mm tall) – but it also has a wider stance. Even the 'Cascading Grille' nose is lower in height.
Finer details on what is a striking-looking machine include an angled lower front splitter, a 'generously arched' rear spoiler, LED daytime running lamps and headlamps with a dark bezel, plus some tasty alloys.
Hyundai has yet to reveal full details about the interior, but it is prepared to say the Fastback will benefit from all the active safety features meted the flagship $43,990 i30 Limited here. That means Autonomous Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detector, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Speed Limit Information Function, High Beam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist System.
It will also enjoy full connectivity, courtesy of an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Wireless Qi smartphone charging will also be available, but potentially as it comes with the Limited – only suited to Android devices.
The Fastback restricts to only the petrol engines seen in the wider i30 family; Hyundai NZ has gone for just a 120kW/203Nm normally-aspirated 2.0-litre in the entry and Elite hatches plus a 150kW/265Nm 1.6 turbopetrol in the Limited. But whether it can achieve the same for the Fastback is still uncertain, grand boss Andy Sinclair says.
"We could end up in a situation where we had too much complexity in the engine range, which would not be ideal."
Sinclair says any case for the Fastback would have to take into account it's potential impact on the Elantra sedan. "In some ways, this (new car) is doing the same job that Elantra has."
It's largely all semantics, anyway, because at the moment the car is only being considered for sale in Europe, where it is built.
Hyundai's says that the Fastback actually has modified suspension compared to the hatchback. Having been tested and developed by engineers at Hyundai Motor Europe's Testing Centre at the Nürburgring, the Fastback's chassis is 5mm lower than the regular five-door's and it has suspension that is 15 percent stiffer in its responses too. That means the coupe-like i30 should prove a sportier steer than the hatchback, which bodes well for any potential 'N' version.
And why a Fastback? According to Hyundai Europe’s chief operating officer, Thomas A. Schmid, this cut-price Korean salute to a styling ethos commonly only found at the high end with the likes of the Audi A5 and A7 Sportback is to make “premium design accessible for everyone.
“The i30 Fastback is the first elegant five-door coupe to enter the compact segment, underlining our commitment to innovation and customer choice."
Did we mention that most of Hyundai Europe’s design and engineering team, particularly involved with the i30 (and i30 N) are mainly ex-VW Group people?