Hyundai i30 N debuts, to go on sale end 2017

Think ‘hot hatches’ and cars like the Focus RS, Golf GTI, Civic Type-R and Megane RS are the ones that come to mind. Now, a bunch of enthusiasts masquerading as employees of an Asian car-maker wants their creation to be included in the aforementioned consideration list. Guess who? It’s Hyundai. And the creation we are talking about is the i30 N.

Revealed in Germany yesterday, the i30 N is the first-ever high-performance model developed under the car-maker’s “N” sub-division. Quite honestly, this is the beginning of a new era for the South Korean brand. Not before has Hyundai launched a new car with an intent to deliver maximum driving fun. With the “N” sub-division though, that’s precisely what they intend to do going forward.

While the ‘N’ suffix might appear to be a cheeky rip-off inspired by BMW’s M division, in Hyundai’s case, the alphabet is an ode to Namyang, the South Korean city home to the car-maker’s global R&D center, and Nürburgring, the notoriously tough circuit that’s known to reward drivers with skills and punish those without. Hyundai made it to the headlines a few years back, first with their venture into the World Rally Championship (WRC) and then with the setting up of a tech center right opposite Nürburgring. With the hiring of Albert Biermann, former executive of BMW’s M division, Hyundai N’s armory was complete. A collective result of all of that is the car you see here.

Under the hood of the i30 N is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder T-GDI engine that delivers 247 horsepower and 353 Nm of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission delivers all that power and torque to the front wheels, enabling the i30 N to sprint to 100 km/h from standstill in just 6.4 seconds. An optional performance pack is on offer too that increases the power output to 271 horsepower and cuts the 0-100 km/h acceleration time to 6.1 seconds. That not just makes the i30 N Hyundai’s quickest car ever but also stacks it up nicely against its well-endowed rivals.

The i30 N also gets performance-oriented features you wouldn’t normally expect on a hatchback with the slanting ‘H’ badge. Electronic Limited Slip Differential (E-LSD), Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS), Rev Matching, Launch Control, Lap Timer, G-Force Meter, 18-inch Michelins or optional 19-inch Pirellis - you name it and the car has it, some of which are exclusive to the performance pack. To satisfy the real enthusiast who like sliding their way through the race track, the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can be switched off. There are five drive modes to choose from - Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom, that can be selected using dedicated buttons on the steering wheel. Depending on the mode chosen, the performance parameters of the engine, the dampers, ESC, E-LSD, sound and steering are adjusted.

Shod with an exclusive “Performance Blue” paint job, the i30 N looks the part. While the basic design and styling are similar to the regular i30 hatch, the N gets a host of subtle-yet-sporty add-ons that clearly reveal the car’s intentions. Blacked-out headlights, grille and air dams, aggressive front and rear bumpers with red accents, lowered body, rear spoiler with F1-inspired triangular brake light, dual exhausts and diffuser differentiate the i30 N from the regular variants. The interiors get a similar treatment of sporty add-ons on what is essentially the regular i30’s cabin. Part of the kit on offer is an exclusive N steering wheel with drive mode selectors, a dedicated rev button, sport seats and standard 5-inch or optional 8-inch touchscreen that displays the drive modes and all the performance parameters. 

Oh yes, you wouldn't miss those "N" badges and imprints positioned in critical points outside and inside the car.

Top notch safety kit including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Driver Attention Alert (DAA), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) and High Beam Assist (HBA) is standard in addition to front, side and curtain airbags. 

The i30 N goes on sale later this year with Hyundai’s plant in Czech Republic handling the production duties. 

If we were Ford, Volkswagen, Honda or Renault, we would be watching this space closely. After all, successful run in WRC and those grueling hours of testing at the Nürburgring aren’t to be taken lightly!

No comments:

Post a Comment