The i30 N might not be the fastest front-wheel drive hatch now but it could be soon.
Launched locally just this year the South Korean maker says it’s sold out of stock in Australia with the same number of cars already spoken for once they arrive from the factory in the Czech Republic, so popular is its first performance car and Australia’s appetite for things that go fast.
The brand expects sales to increase even further once the dual-clutch automatic arrives later into the model’s life cycle but before then, Hyundai has confirmed to Drive.com.au that a skunk works i30 N has been sneaking around with the intention of investigating what a Type R-rivalling i30 could be.
When asked if the local team had been playing around with the hot hatch like it did the one-off Veloster Raptor of four years ago, senior product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi told us cheekily, “Maybe, maybe.”
“There are some groups experimenting with that kind of stuff. And there’s some pretty cool things being considered.
“Everything you can imagine is on the cards,” he said.
“There’s lots of potential. There’s lots of discussions within various groups at Hyundai Motor Group, from high performance teams to things we’ve been looking at locally. Guys at head office and everyone is debating what we can do in terms of a special edition or a few special editions throughout the model’s life-cycle and we’re still tossing around those ideas.”
Australia already gets the most powerful version of the i30 N available, producing 202kW of power and 353Nm of torque through a six-speed manual transmission. The benchmark for front-wheel drive hot hatch power resides with the Honda Civic Type R that produces 235kW (228kW locally) and 400Nm of torque.
But there are further ways to improve performance, including reducing weight and making further improvements to handling, and given nothing has been thrown off the table the flourishing maker might just nab the crown for fastest front-wheel hot hatch from its Japanese rival.