Hyundai Preparing i30 N For 2017 Launch
First full-blown N-model could pack a top speed of 155 mphby Kirby, on
While it’s technically not the first N-badged model to hit the market – the woefully underpowered Hyundai i20 N was released in August 2015 – the i30 N is being billed as the first full-blown model to be billed under the Korean automaker’s new performance division and it’s scheduled to arrive in 2017.
Albert Biermann, Hyundai’s Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development, made the proclamation to Autocar, making it the first time a Hyundai official has gone on record to confirm that the i30 N will be the first Hyundai model to receive the N performance treatment. Biermann’s announcement is a welcome development for those who have been pining to see what Hyundai had in store for its N division and to his credit, he divulged more details about the car than most people expected.
The biggest, and arguably most impressive detail about the i30 N is its use of a use a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will be mated to a manual transmission. An automatic gearbox will also be offered, but that will arrive sometime in 2018. Details surrounding the output of the i30 N weren’t mentioned, but there has been some buzz surrounding a video released by Hyundai last week that showed the new turbo-four engine packing an output of 260 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. It’s not by any means the actual number that we can expect to see from the i30 N, but knowing that the engine is capable of producing that much is a sign that Hyundai could have a beast of a hatch in store for the market. In any event, Biermann also divulged that the performance hatchback could reach a top speed of 155 mph.
Other upgrades over the standard i30 are also in the cards for the N version. Among those that Biermann enumerated include an electronically adjusted limited-slip differential, increased brake performance, a modified gearbox, and a modified exhaust system. An optional track-oriented performance package could also be in the cards, one that could fetch even more power for the new turbo-four engine.
Last but certainly not least is the price. A car that could offer these kind of specs is expected to fetch a pretty penny, but according to Biermann, the i30 N could be priced in the vicinity of under £30,000, which would be around $43,800 based on current exchange rates.
Note: upcoming Hyundai i30 pictured here.
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Why it matters
I’m not prepared to call the i20 N a proper N-performance model, so I am agreeing that the i30 N is the first full-scale model to be built by Hyundai for its new performance division. Judging by the details that have been unveiled, the expectations for this car are going to be as high as it’s ever been for a performance hatchback.
I mean, 155 mph for a Hyundai i30? Who would’ve thought that Hyundai could do it, right? The other details that Biermann divulged are just as interesting. A choice between manual and automatic transmissions should provide customers the opportunity to choose which they prefer. An electronically adjusted limited-slip differential and a modified exhaust system should also be welcome additions to the fold. And that new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine appears to have a lot of promise.
It’s safe to say that Hyundai’s doing all it can to make the i30 N a successful car. The company even rolled out a prototype version of the i30 N at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring over the weekend to test out the car’s components. It finished the race in 90th place, but it still got a solid 91 laps of testing, finishing with a fastest lap of 9:55.636.
So I’m not prepared to get too excited about what to expect from the i30 N, but if the final product comes close to what Hyundai’s setting on the table with these expectations, I think the performance hatchback segment is going to have a new contender to deal with when the i30 N hits the market in 2017. That should give incumbents like the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works, Ford Focus ST, and Volkswagen Golf GTI enough reason to look over their respective shoulders.
Read our full review on the Hyundai i30 here.