Watch out, Golf GTIs and Civic Type Rs. Hyundai has stepped into the hot hatch game with the i30 N, the first high-performance model from its new, in-house tuning division, N. The 'N', of course, stands for Nurburgring, the legendary proving ground in Germany. So, as befitting its name, the i30 N has undergone rigorous testing at The Green Hell and also comes with valuable know-how from Hyundai's ultra-successful World Rally Championship team.
Based on the standard i30 five-door hatch, the i30 N was first touted by Hyundai as the RN30 Concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Now in its production form, its four-cylinder 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo engine churns out 275 PS of peak power and a heady 353 Nm of max torque with N division's own performance pack. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual tranny, in true hot hatch fashion, and there'll be no automatic on offer.
Hyundai claims the i30 N will do the 0-100kmph sprint in 6.1 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 250 kmph. Launch control and a rev-matching function comes standard, along with five selectable driving modes and electronically managed suspension. Drivers can tailor settings through an 'N' custom mode, but there's also a handy 'N' button that automatically sets up the car to its most dynamic setting, if you're not feeling particularly inspired.
Alongside the hike in power, the performance pack also comes with an electronic limited slip differential, larger brakes, a variable valve exhaust system, and larger 19-inch wheels (18-inch Michelins are standard) shod in Pirelli P Zero rubber. Inside, it gets sports steering wheel and seats, 'N Performance' logos everywhere, and an LED rev counter.
On the looks front, the i30 N features a sporty new front bumper with a red insert, topped off by Hyundai's trademark grille. New air inlets have been added to each corner of the car's front end, aiding aerodynamics and brake cooling. At the back, the car gains a new rear apron with a diffuser plus twin exhaust exits, while a new gloss black spoiler with triangular central brake light sits on the hatch lid.
Along with the i30 N, Hyundai also took the wraps off its longer, swoopier and stiffer sibling, the i30 Fastback. It plans to launch the i30 N in Korea and Europe by the end of this year, with prices hewing close to the Focus ST but undercutting the venerable Golf GTI. Sadly, we aren't holding our breath for an Indian launch.