Previews the company’s first N performance car

In 2013, Hyundai announced plans to launch N Performance, a sub-brand that will develop performance-oriented versions of the company’s existing products and handle its ambitious motorsport programs. The first vehicle wearing the "N" badge arrived as early as 2014, when the South Korean brand unveiled the i20 WRC for the World Rally Championship. A bit later, Hyundai confirmed that its first high-performance, road-going model will be based on the i30 hatchback. Come 2016, and the company has given us a taste of things to come with the N Concept RN30.

Revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the RN30 is an aggressive-looking concept car that marries the design of the brand-new i30 with the body kit of a full-fledged race car. Developed in cooperation with the company’s Motorsport division located near the Nurburging track, the RN30 announces Hyundai’s intention to join the high-performance market and previews the i30 N, the first road-going model to sport the "N" logo.

"RN30 embodies the concept of a strong, high-performance car that brings dynamic, sporty driving. Soon to evolve into our first N model, the RN30 is inspired by our passion to provide a high-performance car that our customers can enjoy effortlessly. We have drawn on our technological expertise – honed through our motorsport successes – to deliver emotional delight through an engaging blend of performance and control, the goal Hyundai’s N strives to achieve in future performance models," said Albert Biermann, head of Vehicle Test & High-Performance Development at Hyundai.

What’s the concept all about and how much of it will we see in the production i30 N? Check out our review for answers to those questions.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai N Concept RN30.

Exterior

Essentially a new i30 on steroids, the RN30 retains only a handful of features seen on the production hatchback. The overall shape and proportions match that of the production model — although you have to ignore the race-ready body kit — while the front fascia showcases a similar trapezoidal grille and slender, angular headlamps. However, the similarities stop here, as the concept car is equipped with an aerodynamic package that makes it a lot more aggressive to look at. In short, it looks like a track-prepped version of the i30 — the kind you’d see in the World Rally Championship but with a DTM flavor in it.

It looks like a track-prepped version of the i30 -- the kind you'd see in the World Rally Championship but with a DTM flavor in it.

Up front, the headlamps feature a new lighting pattern with rectangular LED elements, while the bumper has a pair of massive intakes at the corners. These also incorporate big LED foglamps and winglets at the bottom. Onto the sides, we can see extremely beefed-up wheel arches, a prominent side skirt, and large wheels. The rear end is equally menacing, especially due to the big carbon-fiber diffuser and the big exhaust pipes at the center.

The wheels are pretty fancy too, sporting a five-spoke design, red hub caps, and white hockey stick graphics on the tires. The door windows feature motorsport-inspired cutours, but by far the most spectacular feat is that the doors have butterfly-type hinges.

Granted, the production i30 N won’t be as menacing as the concept car. Hyundai will drop the massive splitter, side skirts, and diffuser, the fenders won’t be this wide, and the doors will be replaced with conventional units. However, the hot-hatch will definitely be a more aggressive proposition to the standard model.

Interior

Naturally, the interior is also pretty extreme compared to the standard model. The race-ready hatchback is equipped with a bucket seat, an integrated roll cage, and a no-nonsense dashboard with just a small display behind the motorsport-inspired steering wheel. The tall center console is also inspired by racing, with the buttons on the center stack oriented toward the driver. The concept car is also devoid of convenience features such as air conditioning and a sound system.

The race-ready hatchback is equipped with a bucket seat, an integrated roll cage, and a no-nonsense dashboard.

On the flip side, it comes with all sorts of technology that will soon become available in production models. First, it has cameras integrated inside each A pillar, with an outside camera attached to the center fin on the roof. These enable the driver to create proffessional looking racing footage or film a Nurburgring lap attempt.

Of course, none of these race-inspired goodies will find their way into the road-going i30 N, but it’s good to see that Hyundai is capable of turning its hatchback into a full-fledged race car.

Drivetrain

The RN30 concept gets its juice from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine tuned by Hyundai Motorsport. Under development for N production models, the unit has been upgraded with a larger turbo for increased performance and forged components for enhanced durability.

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Exterior
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The RN30 concept gets its juice from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine tuned by Hyundai Motorsport.

The unit cranks out 380 PS (375 horsepower) and 451 Nm (333 pound-feet) of torque, an incredible figure compared to the road-going i30 we’re all familiar with. All that oomph travels to the wheels through a wet-type, dual-clutch transmission and an all-wheel-drive system. Wait what? AWD on a Hyundai this small? Yup, that’s no typo, but unfortunately we might not see it on the production i30 N.

Beyond the extremely powerful drivetrain, the RN30 Concept also features a number of performance-enhancing technologies such as an electronic variable exhaust, and an electronic limited-slip differential.

But the RN30 Concept is not just powerful. It’s also loaded with innovative weight-saving components made from all-new, high-performance plastic materials developed in collaboration with BASF. Hyundai says that this new material is "light, highly durable, and environmentally-friendly, and is used throughout the new concept to help boost handling and acceleration." There’s no word why these plastic materials are better than carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) though.

Conclusion

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Exterior
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Although its products have improved dramatically in recent years, Hyundai still hasn’t managed to get rid of its "cheap" label, with most customers still preferring well-established European brands like Ford, Volkswagen and Renault. But things are likely to change with the new, European-designed lineup, and the RN30 concept will mark the beginning of a new era for the South Korean automaker. One during which the brand will join its competitors on the performance market. If the RN30 generates enough buzz and the production i30 N comes with a convincing package and strong performance, Hyundai could see a spectacular hike in sales over the next few years.

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    • * Most features won’t make it on the production model

Press Release

Hyundai Motor today unleashed its latest high-performance N concept with the world premiere of RN30 at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. The motorsport-inspired racing concept is developed to deliver passion and pleasure on the track.

Based on the New Generation Hyundai i30, the RN30 was born as a racing machine, developed in close collaboration with Hyundai Motorsport (HMSG), Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center (HMETC) and Hyundai Motor’s Performance Development & High Performance Vehicle Division. The striking concept is distinguished by its purposeful aerodynamic design and specialised high-performance technologies that deliver thrilling high-speed driving.

Albert Biermann, Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development for Hyundai Motor said; “RN30 embodies the concept of a strong, high-performance car that brings dynamic, sporty driving. Soon to evolve into our first N model, the RN30 is inspired by our passion to provide a high-performance car that our customers can enjoy effortlessly. We have drawn on our technological expertise – honed through our motorsport successes – to deliver emotional delight through an engaging blend of performance and control, the goal Hyundai’s N strives to achieve in future performance models.”

Hyundai N was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015, bringing to life the company’s philosophy for providing engaging and thrilling driving pleasure for its customers.

High-performance powertrain boosts driving pleasure

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Exterior
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RN30’s power is supplied by a high-performance 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, under development by Hyundai for N production models, upgraded with an enlarged turbo to increase thrust at full throttle. To manage the additional power, the engine blocks have been applied by forging parts, instead of casting parts, to increase their durability and resistance. As a result, the RN30 is primed for performance, boasting 380 PS (279.5 kW) and a maximum torque of 46 kgf.m (451 Nm).

Managing the impressive levels of torque is a wet-type dual-clutch transmission (DCT), delivering quicker responses during gear shifting and direct coupling to provide dynamic acceleration. To manage the car’s power while enabling precision driving at high speed, the RN30 is equipped with an all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

Specialised technologies maximize thrill of performance

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Exterior
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The RN30 features specialised high-performance technologies designed to increase excitement for drivers and enable them to tame the most challenging of race tracks. Rev-matching encourages spirited driving by quickly and accurately revising the engine’s speed whenever the driver shifts gear while in sport mode. Adding to the sense of thrill for the driver, the Electronic Variable Exhaust system provides a surge of aural pleasure by emitting a strong exhaust sound consistent with the visceral sensations produced by the rapid acceleration.

Other technologies are specifically aimed at enhancing safety and control. The sophisticated electronic limited-slip differential system (eLSD) makes sure each wheel receives sufficient torque, measuring the driving force of the tyres. This helps prevent skidding and ensures fast, precise cornering when navigating high-speed curves – allowing drivers to control this powerful racing machine easily, accurately and confidently.

Engineering focus on lightweight and low center of gravity

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Exterior
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When developing the RN30, Hyundai’s designers and engineers established a new approach to reducing weight and lowering the center of gravity. Instead of using carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) common to most high-performance cars, Hyundai broke the mould with all-new high-performance plastic materials, developed in collaboration with leading global chemical company BASF.

This weight-saving innovation is light, highly durable and environmentally-friendly and is used throughout the new concept to help boost handling and acceleration. Inside, redundant parts were removed, while heavier parts sit in the lowest possible position. The centre of gravity is lowered further by pushing back and lowering the seats, with all these elements combining to achieve a light weight, ideal for performance driving.

Exterior design formed by high-performance DNA

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Exterior
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The silhouette of the RN30 is unmistakably inherited from the clean and cohesive lines of the New Generation Hyundai i30, but with a lower, wider stance to enable greater stability during high speed driving and cornering. To achieve the more purposeful proportions the width of the RN30 has been increased by 30mm compared to the i30, to 1,950mm. Height has been significantly lowered by 84mm to 1,355mm

Further exterior design details hint at the RN30’s capabilities and accommodate high-performance technologies and aerodynamic enhancements. A ‘floating’ fender over each wheel enhances the visual impact of RN30 and work with the side splitters to improve aerodynamic performance, producing the sensation that the car is being sucked-down onto the track.

The front design features Hyundai’s new signature cascading grill and high-tech headlamps, which creates a strong, aggressive image when combined with the distinctive daytime running lights. The airflow from the front to the rear passes through the mesh cascading radiator grill and the air intake, not only improving downforce but also optimising cooling for performance driving. On the upper part of the engine hood, a large air outlet hints at the dramatic engine power of the RN30.

The large rear spoiler, which generates downforce during high-speed driving, distinguishes the car, giving it aesthetically balanced proportions. Also, a fin placed along the central line of the roof and penetrating the rear spoiler, creates a unique rear look. For optimal and balanced downforce, the car features a large rear diffuser set above centrally-mounted white ceramic twin exhaust pipes, while the 19-inch light-weight alloy wheels complete the car’s dynamic appearance.

Interior design – optimised for performance driving

2016 Hyundai N Concept RN30 High Resolution Interior
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During the interior design process, RN30 designers and racing experts from Hyundai Motorsport (HMSG) worked together closely to ensure drivers can focus attention exclusively on the car and the road. A bucket seat, which perfectly fits the driver’s body and an integrated roll cage, which increases the vehicle body strength, support and protect the driver in all situations.

To capture the driver’s reactions and dynamic moments while on the road or track, image-stabilizing gimbal cameras are attached inside each A pillar, with an outside camera attached to the centre fin on the roof. Drivers can create professional-looking racing footage or present their experiences as if on television..

RN30 is the latest in a succession of high-performance sports concepts that point towards the future of N production models, furthering the ‘N’ model characteristics first seen in the Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, RM15 and RM16 concepts. All N performance models draw on Hyundai’s successful motorsport experiences and demonstrate Hyundai’s desire to put thrilling driver experiences at the heart of new car developments. The i30N model will soon be available next year, making our passion for high-performance driving accessible to everyone.

All N models are developed by passionate experts in Namyang, the heart of Hyundai Motor’s global R&D network – then pushed to their limits at Nürburgring, the world’s most challenging race track. The N logo represents the chicane of a race track – where the balance of cars is proven rigorously.

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