The i30 N closely follows the established hot hatch formula, combining a high-output 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, front wheel drive, and - to the delight of purists - a six-speed manual transmission.
European buyers will be offered a choice of two i30 N variants, with a standard model producing 184kW at 6000rpm and 353Nm from 1450 to 4000rpm or a Performance Pack variant (pictured) that ups power to 202kW, extends maximum torque to 4700rpm and adds a limited slip differential with a shorter final drive ratio.
Hyundai Australia hasn’t yet decided if it will offer both models locally, but did indicate that it aims to bring the Performance Pack to Australia at a price as close as possible to the Volkswagen Golf GTI’s $41,490 plus on-road costs starting price. If the standard i30N gets the green-light it could be priced as low as $37,500 plus on-roads.
Using the Golf GTI as a benchmark the i30 N in its standard form produces more power and torque than both the standard 169kW/350Nm Golf GTI, and produces 4kW more power, but 20Nm less torque than the Golf GTI Performance.
But a hot hatch just wouldn’t be hot without a visual package to match the muscled-up mechanicals, as such the i30 N beefs up its appearance with a more aggressive front bumper, a slimmer interpretation of Hyundai’s signature Cascading Grille grille with a larger lower intake, bigger side intakes, and a jutting front splitter from improved downforce.
Headlight internals have also been given a refresh with black housings, while LED daytime running lights crown the bumper intakes.
At the rear there’s similarly sporting revisions to the bumper resulting a more sculpted look, twin exhaust outlets frame a lower diffuser and the raised rear spoiler houses a triangular brake light.
Deeper side skirts and 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels set off the bodysides, with red brake calipers and black mirror housings signalling the i30 N’s performance potential.
Initially the the only gearbox available will be a six-speed manual, though behind the scenes Hyundai is believed to be preparing a seven-speed dual-clutch auto to increase the i30 N’s sales appeal.
Along with the higher power output and electro-mechanically actuated limited slip differentail, the i30 N Performance Pack will also include additional equipment like a bi-modal exhaust system, more supportive front seats, higher-grade interior trim with leather and suede throughout the cabin and a larger 8.0-inch colour touch screen multimedia system with Bluetooth, digital radio, sat nav, smartphone mirroring and specific N performance pages that allows the driver to customise the settings for individual parameters of the car as well as monitor the engine's outputs while on the fly.
Multiple driving modes can be accessed via the steering wheel mounted paddles, with Eco, Normal and Sport available by cycling through the left paddle, or a no-nonsense track-focused N mode instantly accessible via the right paddle.
Drivers will also be able to tweak the the engine's throttle response, the amount of clamping on the differential, the stiffness of the adaptive suspension, steering weight, electronic stability control intervention, and the degree of assistance offered from the rev-matching system within the transmission.
Those that would rather go it alone can also fully disable the stability control for track sessions, and the rev-matching function can also be turned off via a dedicated button on the steering wheel.
Compared with regular i30 models both variants feature a uniquely-developed MacPherson front strut and multi-link rear suspension complete with adaptive dampers, and a different electric power steering system that mounts the motor to the rack instead of the column for more precise steering feel.
The standard i30 N comes equipped with 18-inch alloys matched to Michelin tyres and the Performance Pack steps up to larger 19-inch alloys fitted with Pirelli P-Zero tyres developed exclusively for the i30 N.
Hyundai’s in-house N performance division, developed under the guidance of former BMW M boss, Albert Biermann, is also expected to grow its range of offerings beyond the i30 hatch, with suggestions that the upcoming Kona small SUV, the swoopier i30 Fastback and the next-generation Veloster coupe will also get the N treatment.
"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," Biermann said.
"That's why we measure high-performance in BPM, heart beats per minute instead of only RPM."
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