By: Sam Bisby
Hyundai’s maiden attempt at a hot hatch will be hitting the roads in January. Titled the i30N, the potent hatchback is the first car to come out of the South Korean manufacturer’s N performance arm, promising to be quite the rocket when unleashed to the public.
Created under the guidance of former BMW M division executive Albert Biermann, the i30N ‘has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun’. Rigorous testing of more than 6,000 miles on the demanding Nurburgring has ensured the i30N is up for the challenge of competing against the likes of the Focus ST and Peugeot 308 GTi.
Let’s see what the i30N is all about.
Getting straight to the numbers that matter, the i30N comes in two guises regarding its state of tune. As standard, the car’s 2.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces a respectable 247bhp and 260lb ft of torque. This helps get the i30N from standstill to 62mph in a rapid 6.4sec.
However, the optional performance pack really gives the i30N an edge against its rivals. A power increase sees output rise to 271bhp and shaves 0.3sec off of the base model’s 6.4sec 0-62mph sprint, while also offering a 155mph top speed.
Hyundai has become one of the most prominent names in the current era of the World Rally Championship. Lead driver in 2017, Thierry Neuville, had a very successful season; the Belgian won four rallies and stepped on the podium eight times to pose a serious threat to his fellow championship contenders.
As such, the team charged with developing the i30N only found it natural to be inspired through the exploits of the manufacturer’s rally outfit. The resulting car sees the i30N stand stout and aggressively, thanks in large to its appeasing body kit; the hot hatch has many prominent exterior features, such as its aggressive bumpers, air intakes and a sporty rear spoiler.
These elements aren’t just for show, either. The exterior body work has all been developed to apply race-like dynamics, helping influence the airflow around the car to reduce turbulence and lift to provide balance at the wheel. The i30N’s optional electronic limited slip differential (E-LSD), meanwhile, ensures traction and handling are at optimum levels.
To help you get the most out of the i30N, Hyundai has implemented five drive modes. The choice of Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport N and N Custom all ensure you are all set up for varied types of driving situations, while the last setting, as it suggests, allows you to create your own parameters for the car’s dynamic elements.
In addition, Hyundai has given the i30N a rev-matching system which can blip the throttle automatically when you’re going dow the gears, helping you keep the engine where it needs to be and steadies your gear changes at pace. Meanwhile, a launch mode will help you achieve that 6.1sec 0-62mph time with ease.
You’ll find that the interior of the i30N is also set up for performance, thanks largely to the bolstered sports seat in the front of the car. High-spec cabin technology is also on offer in the form of an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, complete with sat nav and high performance driving data. Connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are as standard, while wireless phone charging can be applied as an option.
Elsewhere, you’ll benefit from the likes of autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, lane keep assist and high-beam assist technology. Road sign recognition is also available, with road signs being displayed on the car’s TFT instrument cluster ahead of the driver.
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