$55k sticker for Hyundai hottie

The hot i30 has the local green light at last – will competitors see red?


MORE N models might yet follow the landmark high-performance edition of Hyundai’s i30 into this market – it all just comes down to availability.

This from Hyundai New Zealand boss Andy Sinclair, who says it is common knowledge that more pepped versions of the Korean brand’s lineup are now being worked up by the division responsible for its performance models and motorsport endeavours.

The skunkworks headed by Albert Biermann, who before coming to Hyundai ran BMW’s vaunted M development programme, has confirmed a line of sport-themed variants based on existing models, and N-branded options and accessories,

It intends to release N Line models and N Option accessories for the wider Hyundai range alongside its dedicated N models, the first being the i30N hot hatch which Hyundai NZ has finally confirmed for sale, with a $54,990 sticker.

Set to be available through all Hyundai outlets, the model in NZ specification carries the highest-output 202kW engine, a powerful attraction given the closely-priced version of the car used as a developmental measuring stick, the Golf GTi, starts $2000 above the Hyundai and produces 169kW.

On top of punching out decent power, the Hyundai engine has impressive torque; 353Nm at 1450-4700rpm peaking at 378Nm on overboost.

Sinclair has not offered volume predictions for the i30N, but has suggested demand might be tempered by the production restrictions which have primarily kept the car from coming on sale until now. The only other drawbacks might be that it only offers in pure manual format, with a six-speed, though a direct-shift transmission is said to be in development.

What other N models might be coming?

Sinclair also acknowledges that an N edition of the Kona compact crossover, a strong seller here, would likely be attractive to Kiwis. Biermann has confirmed this will be a front-drive vehicle using the same running gear as the i30N – including its 2.0-litre turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission.

A Tucson N has also been long-rumoured. It would be logical for the mid-size crossover is also in line for the performance treatment given it's one of Hyundai's top-selling models.

The Veloster N has also been developed.

Also of obvious potential are N Line variants that will feature N Option cosmetic upgrades and running gear, likely in the form of bodykits, larger wheels, bigger brakes and sports suspension upgrades.