Watch out Golf GTi, Hyundai i30 N is here.
After more than 9500km of testing on the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife, Hyundai have finally released the eagerly awaited i30 N.
The i30 N marks the South Korean manufacture’s first attempt at producing a premium segment vehicle- and the hot hatch segment is brave arena to target. Taking direct aim at the Golf GTI, the i30 N represents the genesis of Hyundai’s new performance segment. The cars will be adorned with an distinguishing ‘N’ badge (said to represent a chicane and a nod to the Nurburgring).
So what have Hyundai come up with, then? Well, the i30 N is available in two specifications- both making use of a 2.0L turbo petrol engine. The standard version comes with 185 kW and a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds, while the ‘performance pack’ version will upgrade that power output to 202 kW and shave three tenths off your 0-100 time. Oh, and you’ll be able to hit that 6.1s figure every time thanks to a launch control system which allows you to pull off like a ‘professional race driver’, according to Hyundai.
The performance pack version comes with all the bells and whistles- adaptive dampers, track-optimised steering, a rev-matching system (like that on the BMW M2), and an electronic limited-slip differential that will manage the 353 N.m of torque. Outside you’ll find more aggressive styling than we’re used to seeing from Hyundai. Side air intakes, a front splitter, and a large rear spoiler emphasise the sporty intentions of the i30 N. The standard 18 inch P-Zero clad wheels can be swapped out for 19’s if you wish, although this will further firm up the ride of the already 15% stiffer chassis.
Inside, the i30 N features sports seats and a multifunction sports steering wheel which allows the driver to select from the five available driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, N & N custom). An optional ‘electronic sound generator’ is also available to boost the volume in the cabin- we’re hoping this isn’t something you’ll need should you choose the variable exhaust valve option…
Overall, the i30 N looks to be a promising prospect on paper and sets dead-aim on the VW Golf GTI. Whether it has the bite to match its bark will have to wait to be seen, but signs are good. Availability in South Africa is currently ‘being considered’ by Hyundai, so hold thumbs. In the meantime, rumours are rife about the development of a +220 kW edition of the i30 fastback. Interesting.