Hyundai took the wraps off its first dedicated hot hatch yesterday. The i30 N is its 271 hp volley into the hot hatch wars, and on first impression, it sounds like the Korean company means business.
That headline power figure comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, paired with 260 lb-ft of torque. That’s with the optional Performance Package however: the base i30 N makes do with 247 hp, but the same torque rating. This places it above the Golf GTI and Focus ST, but some way shy of the Leon Cupra 300. Both i30 N models deliver their power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual. Hyundai will not offer an automatic option.
In addition to the extra power, the Performance Package swaps the stock 18″ rims for 19″ items. The bigger rims are shod in 235/35R Pirelli tires (versus 225/40R Michelins). It also adds an electronic limited-slip differential to proceedings, as well as a variable exhaust valve system.
Like a few other cars on the market, the i30 N features what Hyundai calls a Electronic Sound Generator. Engine noises are piped into the interior, which the company says “provides some extra acoustic drama to match the mood of the driver.”
All models come equipped with an adaptive suspension and the typical user-selectable driving mode system. Hyundai lists five options: Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and N Custom. In either N mode, the i30 N will pop and backfire, though not at the same frequency as the WRC car. There is also a launch control feature, and mercifully, all driving aids can be fully disabled should the driver choose.
Hyundai has extensively honed the i30 N at — where else — the Nürburgring. Not only has it undergone thousands of miles there for durability testing, the i30 entered the ADAC N24 event twice. That’s one half of the equation behind the new N performance brand, actually: the other is Namyang, the home of Hyundai’s R&D center in South Korea.
Outside, the new look is surprisingly subdued. There’s a bigger spoiler and some angrier-looking front and rear bumpers. There’s the trendy thin red pinstripe along the leading edge too… and that’s about it. Hyundai seems to be aping the GTI approach more so than the Type R, but to our eyes that’s no bad thing.
Albert Biermann, Executive VP of the High Performance Vehicle Division, had this to say about the first road-going N model:
“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.”
Hyundai says the i30 N will be available across Europe before the end of 2017. Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be coming to North America (where the i30 goes by the name Elantra GT).