This is the Hyundai i30 N – Hyundai’s first ever hot hatch, and the first model to wear the brand’s N performance badge. The car got his introduction during the IAA (Frankfurt Motorshow) 2017.
It’s set to take on cars including the Peugeot 308 GTi and VW Golf GTI. It may not have the outright power of the SEAT Leon Cupra or Honda Civic Type R, but its electronically adjustable suspension and the fact that it’s been tested to death on the Nurburgring should mean it’s a bundle of fun on twisty country roads.
The i30 N uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with 260lb ft of torque and 250hp, or 275hp if you specify the optional performance package. The most powerful of the two gets the i30 N from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds – 0.1 seconds faster than a Golf GTI – and the 250hp model makes the dash in 6.4 seconds. Both will reach a 155mph top speed. A standard launch control system should make it easy to get the i30 N off the line without loads of wheelspin.
Whichever version you pick, the power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox – there’s no automatic option. The i30 N can also match engine revs when you’re changing down gears, automatically imitating a racing-style heel-and-toe downshift – ideal for taking the stress out of fast driving. The jury’s out on how good the engine will sound – Hyundai admits to using a noise generator at the base of the windscreen to artificially spice things up in the sportier driving modes.
The i30 N’s optional performance package doesn’t just give you more power – it adds a few other sporty trinkets, and will be worth going for if you plan to take your hot Hyundai on track. The pack adds stickier Pirelli P-Zero tyres, red brake calipers and bigger brake discs with larger 19-inch wheels – the non-performance-pack car gets 18-inch wheels. The biggest addition, however, is an electronically controlled limited-slip differential – designed to help the i30 N accelerate hard out of tight corners without spinning the front wheels.
Performance package i30 N models also get a switchable exhaust valve that lets you increase the volume and amount of pops and bangs from the exhaust when you come off the throttle.
You can tell the i30 N apart from a standard i30 thanks to pumped-up wheelarches, more aggressive bumpers, larger 18 or 19-inch wheels and two exhaust tips. It also sits 4mm lower on 18-inch wheels and 8mm lower on the 19s. Black headlamp surrounds, a triangular brake light in the black spoiler and gets a smattering of N badges complete the look.
The i30 N will come in Performance Blue, Clean Slate, Polar White, Micron Grey, Phantom Black and Engine Red colour schemes.
Inside, there are sporty N-branded seats – available in leather or grippier suede cloth – with thick side bolsters to hug you in place in fast corners, along with a chunky steering wheel complete with buttons to switch between the i30 N’s driving modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. Each mode changes the engine response and aggression of the auto rev-matching system, limited-slip differential, exhaust sound, electronic suspension and stability control.
The instrument binnacle gets some blue touches, and includes gear-change lights at the top to help you shift up at the right time without taking your eyes completely off the road.
As standard, the i30 N gets a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and you’ll be able to upgrade it to an eight-inch version with satellite navigation. It’ll show you how much power and torque you’re using, along with your turbo boost levels, lap times and acceleration figures. More usefully, perhaps, all i30 Ns come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring systems. You can also add a wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones, and live-traffic updates.