BRAND NEW HYUNDAI I30 N
Hyundai just launched its first serious performance car – and it’s going to be a hit. Here’s why
There’s a good reason Hyundai’s are so popular with Irish drivers. The South Korean marque has made a big name for itself in recent years in delivering unbeatable reliability, ever more stylish looks and a generous offering of tech thrown in as standard – at a very agreeable price.
Now though, there’s an even better reason to buy one. For the first time in history, Hyundai has launched a proper, full fat hot hatch: The i30 N. And it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Based on the hugely popular i30 Hatchback, the N version retains all the features that drove up the standard i30 sales in droves. But the N turns the performance up to the max. Make no mistake – this is a proper driver’s car. Honed at Germany’s ruthless, 20km long Nurburgring test circuit and developed with expertise from BMW’s former M Performance division chief, the N comes with a very credible back story.
Priority number one in such a competitive market is an engine that delivers the goods. Which is why the N’s 2.0L turbocharged unit has been tuned up to produce a beefy 250 PS – some serious power for a front-wheel-drive hatchback. That’s unless you opt for the Performance pack, which takes the power up to a staggering 275 PS. 0-100km/h takes just 6.1 seconds – faster than a Golf GTI. At full pelt, you’ll reach a top speed of 250km/h.
The keenest drivers will love how acutely you can tailor the car’s set-up; it comes with five individual drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom – which tweak the throttle response, the suspension stiffness, the stability control and the steering weight to suit your driving style. You can manually adjust all manner of variables yourself too, giving you ultimate control over how the car responds on a fast road. You can even decide how loud you’d like the exhaust sound to be.
Throw the car into a tight corner at speed and you’ll be impressed at how tightly it hugs the apex; that’s thanks to Hyundai’s new N Traction and Stability Control and the intriguingly-named “N Corner Carving Differential”, all developed in-house. The Carving Differential essentially allows driven wheels to turn at different speeds by applying different amounts of torque to them, reducing wheel slip and minimising understeering in corners.
There’s no denying it looks fantastic too. The i30 is a handsome car, but the N version takes the styling to the next level; it’s been given an aggressive new front bumper with mean-looking air intakes below the signature Hyundai cascading grille. It sits 8mm lower than the standard model. At the rear, twin tailpipes sit aside eye-catching red trim under the bumper, subtly hinting at the car’s track-focussed pedigree.
i30 N buyers won’t miss out on the wide array of toys that come with the standard i30 either. Both cars come with a full colour 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a “floating” tablet-like screen, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and comes with a wireless charging pad for smartphones too. You’ll also get TomTom’s highly competent navigation system as standard and voice activation functionality to control it hands-free.
Like all Hyundai’s, the N comes with a five year, unlimited mileage warranty which, impressively, includes track use. So all in all, the i30 N is a tempting proposition – and that’s before you see the price tag. The N is significantly cheaper than a similarly spec’d Golf GTI (which begins at a lower entry price but comes with far less equipment as standard).
For the first attempt at a hot hatch, using only in-house parts and expertise, the i30 N is an incredibly competent effort. Take one for a test drive and see for yourself.