The Hyundai i30 N was what we believed to be the best Hyundai could do with the i30 hatchback. After all, it was tuned and tweaked at the Nurburgring. But then, a year later, Hyundai showed up to the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show with the i30 N Project C – a limited-production, euro-only i30N that’s more

  • 2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    271 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    260 @ 4700
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.0 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Hyundai i30N Project C Exterior Design

  • Slightly more aggressive
  • Lots of CFRP body parts
  • Unique color
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At a glance, the i30 N Project C doesn’t look all that different from the standard i30 N, but it’s not the appearance that really sets it apart.

Sure, the side skirts are a little more aggressive, and the front splitter is a little more defined. The rear end might even be a little more defined with that revised diffuser at the bottom. All of these new bits and pieces are just side effects of Hyundai’s real intentions, and that was to create a car that was lighter and drivers better than the car it was based on. In fact, Project C stands for exactly that, with “C” standing for “Area C” – a high-performance Circuit at Hyundai Namyang R&D. It also stands for carbon fiber, something that hasn’t been found on Hyundai models before, and it stands for Center of gravity – something that has been improved with the Project C.

2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C Exterior
- image 860536

If you haven’t put two and two together yet, all of these fresh parts are made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP.)

So, we’re talking about the hood, side skirts, front splitter, arear diffuser, and the rear wing – all made from CFRP.

This makes every single piece lighter, yet they have also have the revised design to create better aerodynamics. The car has also been lowered by 6 mm (about a quarter of an inch) and, Hyundai has managed to lower the car’s center of gravity by 8.8 mm compared to the range-topping version of the standard i30 N.

According to Hyundai, that makes the Project C better to drive and quicker than ever before. Never mind that fact that it looks downright stunning, to say the least. All told, the Project C weighs some 50 kgs (about 110 pounds) lighter.

Hyundai i30N Project C Interior Design

  • Alcantara spread through cabin
  • New model-specific seats
  • Deep orange accents
  • Piston-shapped shifter
2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C Interior
- image 860550

Hyundai said very little about the interior, but as you can see, there’s a decent amount of Alcantara scattered throughout the cabin, including on the steering wheel, handbrake, and manual shifter boot. Hyundai even went so far as to create a new shift knob that shares a likeness to a piston – how’s that for ingenuity?

The deep orange color from the brake calipers outside carries over to the seatbelts inside, as well as the stitching and accents on the front and rear seats.

Those seats, by the way, are new compared to the i30 N as well, and are something you might expect to be made available at some time in the future for less-exclusive cars. Finally, Hyundai has added a special badge on the passenger side dash to indicate what number out of 600 each individual model represents.

Hyundai i30N Project C Drivetrain & Performance

  • Same 2.0-liter from i30N
  • 271 horsepower
  • 260 lb-ft f torque
  • overboost menas 8-percent more torque
  • lower stance
  • lower center of gravity
  • 50 KG lighter
2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C Exterior
- image 860540

It really feels like Hyundai dropped the ball here. Hyundai put so much work into refining the exterior and interior, making the i30 N lighter, and yet, that’s where it stopped. Under that lighter CFRP hood sits the same 2.0-liter T-GDI found in…. you guessed it….the Hyundai i30 N. This is the same tune configuration that comes with the i30 N Performance Pack, so it pumps out 275 PS (271 horsepower) and 353 nm (260 pound-feet of torque. Of course, with the over-boost function in place, the Project C actually delivers 378 nm of torque.

As for performance, well that remains to be seen, but Hyundai promises that the Project C is quicker and we have a tendency to believe its engineers. After all, the Project C is 110 pounds lighter than the car it’s based on, sits just a hair lower, has much lighter wheels (about 44-pounds lighter), and revised aerodynamics. The i30 N performance Package can get to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, so we suspect the Project C can do it in 5.9 or 6.0 seconds flat. Furthermore, the lower center of gravity, revised suspension, and the new aerodynamics should compute to a car that handles better than ever.

After all, that’s what it was built for and tested at Hyundai’s Namyang R&D Center and the Nurburgring. Hyundai hasn’t given us any details in terms of performance times around either track, but you can bet it’s quicker than any other I30 that’s ever rolled off the production line.

2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C Exterior
- image 860533
2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C specifications
Engine THETA 2.0 T-GDI, 16-valve MLA, DOHC E-CVVT
Capacity 1998 cc
Bore x stroke 86.0 x 86.0 mm
Compression ratio 9.5
Power 275 PS (202 kW) @ 6000 rpm
Torque 353 Nm @ 1450 ~ 4700 rpm 378 Nm with Overboost Function @ 1750-4200rpm
Turbocharger boost pressure 2.3 bar max
Maximum speed (km/h) 250
0-100 km/h (seconds) 6.0
CO2 combined (g/km NEDC 2.0 target)* 176*
Fuel Consumption urban/extra urban/combined (l/100 km)* 5.7/9.7/7.1

Final Thoughts

2020 Hyundai i30 N Project C Exterior
- image 860543

It appears as if Hyundai is trying to flex its muscles a bit but showing what it could do if it really wanted to. It almost feels like Hyundai is just toying with us a bit, though, as we always knew that the i30 N has more potential than what it was really offering. There’s no doubt that the Project C could be even better than it is as that 2.0-liter engine could easily be tuned to deliver more. This leaves me to wonder what Hyundai has up its sleeve next, beyond this limited-production model. Will there be a more powerful version of the i30 N coming to the states since this one is destined only for the Euro market? Or, is Hyundai just trying to keep attention on the i30 and i30N for now? I guess only time will tell.

Further reading

2018 Hyundai i30 N High Resolution Exterior
- image 723132

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai i30 N.

2019 Hyundai i30 N Fastback
- image 796925

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai i30 N Fastback.

i30 N Project C: a lighter, lower, more aggressive version of the top 275-PS spec i30 N five-door
Available only to European customers, Project C is strictly limited to 600 units
‘C’ stands for 3 things: ‘Area C’ high-performance test circuit at Hyundai Namyang R&D; carbon fibre – a Hyundai first; centre of gravity lowered the right amount so customers know we care about performance without sacrificing dynamics.
Exclusive specification inspired by – and tested at – both Namyang R&D and the Nürburgring Nordschleife
Set to debut on Hyundai stand 11 September at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
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10 September 2019 - At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Hyundai Motor launches the i30 N Project C limited edition, a lighter, lower and more extreme version of the critically acclaimed i30 N.

The Project C interpretation of the brand’s first-ever high-performance model intensifies the i30 N experience using ‘added lightness’ and even more responsive handling – for more smiles for our most demanding drivers. It is 50 kgs lighter (officially: 50.004 kgs lighter), sits 6 mm closer to the road, and features strong exterior and interior design.

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i30 N Project C | Highlights
Inspired by motorsport, the i30 N is Hyundai Motor’s original high-performance car to wear the N badge and debuted in 2017 to rave reviews and multiple awards. Built on the i30 five-door, it was developed from the ground up to deliver maximum fun-to-drive in everyday life on the road as well as on the track. N is Hyundai Europe’s emotional expression for dedicated customers, and Project C is its truest expression yet.

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The i30 N Project C’s unique specifications include clearly visible carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body parts lacquered smooth to show the perfect carbon fibre weave. The front splitter, rear diffuser, bonnet and N-branded side sills are all made from CFRP, making the special edition model not just lighter but also tighter to the tarmac at speed while being stunning to look at. Despite featuring a larger frontal area and standing lower to the ground, the Project C drag coefficient of 0.32 remains the same as on the i30 N. Meanwhile, dedicated aerodynamic touches placed high and low on Project C also contribute to an exhilaratingly quicker but even more steady drive for confident curve slicing.

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i30 N Project C | Footage
Why the letter ‘C’ specifically? First, the ‘Area C’ high-performance test track at Hyundai Namyang R&D Center is the birthplace of N. Then also, Project C is the first use ever made by Hyundai of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body parts for a road car. Lastly, the effective centre of gravity for Project C is lowered by 8.8 mm as compared to the 275-PS specification of i30 N. These three Cs combine to make this captivating performance car possible.

The i30 N Project C is the next emotional step in following the success of the i30 N, demonstrating that Hyundai is pushing the envelope even more to excite motorsport enthusiasts. With this limited edition, we have strategically reduced the weight of the car where it can help most, made its overall handling more immediate and optimised its design for even greater performance.

Thomas Schemera
Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Division
i30 N Project C cuts weight with CFRP and aluminium
With the i30 N Project C, Hyundai has made no compromises in order to optimise the i30 N’s high-performance credentials. The forged OZ racing wheels play a big part in vital unsprung weight reduction. The imposing 19-inch wheels alone account for 22 kgs of shed weight.

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Using CFRP in the bonnet (-7.2 kgs), both side sills (-499 grams each), front splitter (+240 grams of pure aerodynamic function and good looks), newly designed integrated rear diffuser (-386 grams) as well as the lighter manually operated Sabelt® competition front bucket seats with CFRP backings (-7.5 kgs each), helps account for the lost weight. The Sabelt seats also provide the driver and front passenger with perfect lateral and shoulder support in an enhanced seating position geared toward performance driving.

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Power remains 275 PS and overboost-torque at 378 Nm as with the i30 N with Performance Package, while the i30 N Project C’s reduced weight and added responsiveness make for noticeably enhanced feedback to the driver.

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Optimised dynamics
The steering and suspension on i30 N Project C are considered a benchmark for the most enthusiastic i30 N drivers. ’Project C’ refers specifically to the Namyang R&D Center’s high-performance circuit called ’Area C’. But the car has been equally dialed in at the Nürburgring Hyundai Technical Center in Meuspath.

Alexander Eichler
Head of High Performance Vehicle Test and Development at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center
The i30 N Project C is 6 mm closer to the road – with centre of gravity height effectively 8.8 mm lower – thanks to new internal calibrations for the existing i30 N dampers and new shorter higher-stiffness suspension springs. The rear wheel hangers – or ‘knuckles’ – at the hubs together remove a surprising 4.66 kgs as here they are made from aluminium not steel. Project C also has the rear cargo zone stiffness bar of the i30 N’s Performance Package for greater overall balance at higher speeds and particularly during aggressive weight transfers in curves.

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Meanwhile, all driving modes have been specifically calibrated for Project C, and both the Sport and N drive modes give drivers greater direct feedback for an even stronger fun-to-drive effect. The extremely dynamic N mode in this case is designed for the required agility and predictability while on race-track quality tarmac in the hands of more experienced drivers.

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A sleek and seriously functional design
The Project C interior features Alcantara® highlights, most noticeably around the steering wheel, handbrake and manual shift lever. Like many of the changes inside the car, the brushed aluminium billet manual shift knob – shaped like a pistonhead – combines functionality and design, fitting perfectly in the hand for the short precise shifts. Not only the brake calipers outside but also all seat belts inside feature the Deep Orange colour theme used for Project C details. The look of the completely new Sabelt bucket seats also gets Deep Orange stitching and stripes. And now in Deep Orange are the drive mode and N-mode thumb paddles on the steering wheel. A limited edition xx/600 badge on the passenger side signals the exclusiveness of this limited edition.

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The exterior design is dominated by dark matte grey, with all CFRP parts presenting the coveted carbon fibre weave in high gloss.

With Project C, Hyundai pushes the limits of the i30 N, providing an all-new experience as well as pure dynamic and responsive satisfaction.

Visitors to the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) will be able to experience the public world premiere of the i30 N Project C on 11 September. The new model will be strictly limited to 600 units, and starts deliveries in select markets across Europe later this year.

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