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Spotlight on the new Hyundai i30 N

Explore the first in Hyundai’s new line of high performance road cars.

The Hyundai i30N

The Hyundai i30N

The i30 N is the first ever Hyundai hot hatchback. This car signals the beginning of a new era of vehicles branded with the N badge. The ‘N’ stands for 'Namyang', the location of Hyundai Motor’s global research and development centre. It also stands for Nürburgring, one of the most demanding racing tracks in the world, where the i30 N underwent serious testing in order to become the car it is today.

What makes it different from the i30?

This model isn’t just another i30 – the standard model has been vigorously reworked, even down to extra strengthening added to both body and chassis structure.

The four cylinder, 2.0-litre turbo engine which was taken from Hyundai’s current line-up, has been retooled to develop 247bhp and 260lb feet (279lb feet on overboost) or 271bhp. There are two versions of the i30 N: a standard model and an upgraded N Performance car costing £27,303. Besides the extra 24bhp, you also get bigger wheels (19 inches instead of 18), uprated brakes, improved steering and final-drive ratios, a removable brace bar in the boot, an electrically controlled mechanical differential, and rev-match downshifting. The body is also improved with various enhancements.

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The more powerful version, the i30 N Performance, cracks 0–62 mph in 6.1 seconds (three tenths faster than the standard i30 N), and features adaptive dampers, with a variety of selectable modes from efficient Eco to the track-focused N mode, via Normal, Sport and a variety of mix and match options.

Even with the standard electric seats, Hyundai has worked hard to keep the driving position as low as possible. It also comes with a variable exhaust system, which in N-mode is louder and more charismatic, thanks to rally-spec crackle.

What’s it like to drive?

We’ll keep this simple: the Hyundai i30N is a proper hot hatchback and is a joy to drive.

The suspension may be on the stiff side, but that makes it ideal for an average UK B road. From the controls, clutch and gearbox to steering and brakes, everything works in perfect harmony, providing the driver with satisfying feedback.

The brakes are a particular highlight, with superb bite and plenty of power. The steering gives tons of feel while providing pinpoint accuracy.

Even the engine responds instantly and packs enough punch without troubling the front axle, offering loads of grip through the sharpest bends, thanks to the limited-slip differential.

This precision-engineered car is perfectly balanced, working both ends evenly and delivering impressive, precisely distributed traction.

And it looks good too…

There’s a range of stunning colours to choose from, with Performance Blue always sure to turn heads. Stunning details like neat vents inside the front arches channel air down the brakes keeping them cooled even under the most extreme conditions, such as a track days.

So, should I buy one?

This car is great value with amazing standard spec including LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, 8-inch touchscreen sat nav and autonomous braking. You also get a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Take it for a spin and and you’ll be surprised how joyful it is, how speed and suspension are so well matched, how it drives with genuine unfiltered enthusiasm.

About the Author

Angelos Sfakianakis