Hyundai went serious about its performance credentials when it released info about the i30 N – the first true hot hatchback by Hyundai (sans the Veloster Turbo) and the first production car to receive the N badge since the N Performance brand was launched in 2013.
The letter N not only stands for Namyang, where Hyundai’s research and development headquarters are located; it also stands for Nuburgring, where the car is extensively tested. Hyundai claimed that it went 10,000 kilometers of testing in its development. The man behind N Performance, Albert Biermann, was a former chief engineer at BMW M GmbH, and, according to Hyundai, he was tasked with “the development of new high performance Hyundai and Kia models,” shifting the brand direction to high performance vehicles after the South Korean brand’s stint in the World Rally Championship. It then opened its test center near the famed Green Hell.
The i30 N signalled the start of its new brand direction, alongside the Kia Stinger sedan. A racing version participated in the 24 hours of Nurburgring twice and finished without mishap.
“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. 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,” Biermann said in a statement.
The car is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder engine producing 246 hp at 6,000 revs per minute (275 hp with the Performance Pack option) with 353 Nm of torque (on both models), mated to a six-speed manual transmission, putting all the power at the front wheels. It can propel itself to 60 mph (96 kph) in 6.4 seconds (6.1 seconds with the 275-hp Performance Package).The manual transmission includes rev-match on downshifts, and even a launch control for quicker starts off the line, and with enough power to boot to rival European offerings from Volkswagen or Peugeot.
Hyundai also claimed that the i30 N “loves corners” that meant it has the dynamics when it approaches and exits a bend. A roll bar is fitted behind the rear seats to add rigidity. The suspension is stiffer and is electronically controlled, and can adjust the dampers depending on the drive mode selected: Eco, Normal, Sport, N or N Custom. The drive mode can be selected on the steering wheel and adjust engine settings as well as stability control, exhaust note, steering feel and the rev match feature. A tricked out front electronic limited-slip differential keeps the power distribution at the front wheels in check. It sits on 18-inch wheels (19 inch wheels for the Performance Package) with 18-inch brakes at the front and 17-inch brakes at the rear, with Michelin Pilot Cup II tyres as standard, or specialized Hyundai N tyres made by Pirelli for the track-focused Performance Pack.
Hyundai still retained the safety and comfort from the normal i30 from it was based, so leather seats, an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Support come as standard. The 8-inch infotainment system also keeps track of your lap times and G-force levels – all that a track-day driver would appreciate. Safety features such as forward emergency braking, Driver Attention Alert, Lane Keeping Assist, a Speed Limit Information Function, and High Beam Assist are also standard as well.
The car is on sale with all 100 models of the First Edition sold, equipped with the Performance Package and are exclusive to the German market. Owners of the First Edition are also invited to the Nurburgirng for a training workshop and driving lessons. The standard model will cost at 30,900 euros.