Hyundai Takes Aim at the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI
The Hyundai i20N Could Shake Up the Subcompact Segmentby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 04:35
It’s been four years since Hyundai launched its high-performance N division in 2016, and the Korean brand already introduced two models. The i30 N debuted in 2017, while the Veloster N arrived in 2019. Come 2020 and Hyundai is preparing the release of the i20 N. Rumored to be in the works ever since Hyundai started racing the i20 in the World Rally Championship, the i20 N will arrive alongside the third-generation hatchback, introduced for 2020. Teased in a series of new shots from Hyundai, the i20 N will compete against the already popular Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST.
The Hyundai i20 N will be the most aggressive subcompact hot-hatch
As seen on the i30 N, the N package adds a more aggressive bumper up front. It features much bigger vents at the corners, a sportier splitter at the bottom, while the main grille appears to boast a unique pattern.
The lower apron sports red accents, which continue on the heavily sculpted side skirts. We can also spot beefed-up fenders and bigger brake calipers with "N" badges. The teasers don’t show much of the rear end, but it’s safe to assume that the rear bumper will include a race-inspired diffuser and big exhaust pipes. The roof spoiler should also be larger compared to the standard model.
The interior should come with a few extras for a sportier look and feel. Just like the Veloster N, the i20 N will feature a pair of sports seats up front with bigger bolstering and contrast stitching. There will also be an N-Design shift knob, a sequential shift indicator, and a bespoke instrument cluster with performance-related features.
The Hyundai i20 N will pack around 200 horsepower
There's no official word as to what engine will lurk under the i20 N's hood, but don't expect this hatchback to feature the 2.0-liter four-cylinder offered in the i30 N and Veloster N.
Hyundai will probably go with a smaller 1.6-liter unit, most likely the Gamma II, which is already capable of 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque in the i30. There’s a chance that the i20 N won’t boast more than a little over 200 horsepower, but the Gamma II turbo-four will be altered for a higher rev limit and fitted with race-proven components.
At around 200 horsepower, the i20 N will be notably less powerful than the i30 N and Veloster N, available with either 247 or 271 horsepower. However, it will be significantly more potent than the regular i20, which comes with 118 horses and 127 pound-feet in range-topping trim. 200 horsepower will also be enough to go against the Volkswagen Polo GTI, rated at 197 horses, and the Ford Fiesta ST, also powered by a 197-horsepower engine.
The i20 N will probably come standard with a manual transmission, but since Hyundai recently added an eight-speed automatic to the i30 N and Veloster N, the smaller hatchback may be offered with a similar gearbox too.
When will Hyundai unveil the i20 N?
There’s no specific date yet, but we’ve seen the car being tested on the Nurburgring and these teasers suggest that the official unveiling isn’t far away. The hot-hatchback will probably break cover by the end of October 2020.
The Hyundai i20 N is the fourth N model
When it arrives later in 2020, the i20 N will join three existing N models. The N sub-brand debuted with the i30 N, a compact hatchback, which was joined by a Fastback model a while later. The third model in the lineup is the Veloster N. All three models are powered by the same 2.0-liter turbo-four, Theta II engine rated at 247 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. When fitted with the Performance Package, output increases to 271 horsepower. All three cars hit 62 mph in 6.4 seconds in base trim and in 6.1 clicks with the Performance Package. The dual-clutch automatic slashes the benchmark to only 5.6 seconds in the Veloster N. Top speed is limited to 155 mph for all N models.