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i30 N breaks cover: First pics of Hyundai’s Golf GTI fighter

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Hyundai re­veals i30 N; Holden drops SS badge for Euro VXR

WE’VE READ about it, writ­ten about it, heard it and even driven the pro­to­type, but here it is, the fi­nal pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Hyundai i30 N, the first se­ri­ous hot hatch chal­lenger from Korea.

As the de­but prod­uct from Hyundai’s stand­alone N per­for­mance di­vi­sion (N stands for Hyundai’s Namyang home base), it’s re­spon­si­ble for chang­ing per­cep­tions of a brand tra­di­tion­ally known for value and re­li­a­bil­ity rather than white-knuckle, hair-rais­ing per­for­mance.

De­vel­oped un­der the watch of Hyundai (and Kia’s) per­for­mance car boss Al­bert Bier­mann, for­merly of BMW, the i30 N will be avail­able in two flavours. Both fea­ture a 2.0-litre tur­bocharged four-cylin­der en­gine, the base car pro­duc­ing 184kW at 6000rpm and 353Nm from 14504000rpm, the Per­for­mance Pack­age adding an ex­tra 16kW and de­vel­op­ing its max­i­mum torque over a wider 1450-4700rpm range.

A six-speed man­ual is ini­tially the only avail­able trans­mis­sion with an eight-speed wet-clutch auto not ex­pected un­til 2020. Both vari­ants man­age a limited top speed of 250km/h and launch con­trol al­lows the base car to clock 0-100km/h in 6.4sec with the Per­for­mance Pack­age shav­ing 0.2sec from that time thanks to its ex­tra power and shorter gear­ing.

How­ever, hot hatches are rarely about straight-line per­for­mance and Hyundai claims the i30 N has been de­vel­oped with three ‘Fun to Drive’ cor­ner­stones in mind: Cor­ner Ras­cal, Ev­ery­day Sports Car and Race Track Ca­pa­bil­ity. Al­ter­ing the car’s per­son­al­ity is pos­si­ble via but­tons on the left of the steer­ing wheel or through the cen­tre touch­screen, with drivers able to ad­just the en­gine re­sponse, steer­ing weight, sus­pen­sion stiff­ness, ESC le­niency and revmatch­ing sys­tem.

An ‘N Mode’ im­me­di­ately switches ev­ery­thing to its most ag­gres­sive set­ting while an ‘N Cus­tom’ mode al­lows a favourite com­bi­na­tion of set­tings to be saved and re­called at the press of a but­ton. The Per­for­mance Pack­age of­fers even greater con­fig­ura­bil­ity thanks to its elec­tron­i­cally-con­trolled limited-slip dif­fer­en­tial and vari­able ex­haust valves, which of­fers plenty of pops and crack­les on the over­run.

Fi­nal kerb weight hov­ers around the 1450kg mark but is not yet con­firmed and varies depend­ing on the vari­ant se­lected. The stan­dard i30 N wears 18 x 7.5-inch wheels and 225/40 Miche­lin Pi­lot Su­per Sport tyres while the Per­for­mance Pack­age up­grades to 19 x 8.0-inch wheels wear­ing 235/35 Pirelli P Ze­ros, al­low­ing it to run a big­ger brake pack­age iden­ti­fied by red brake calipers.

Help­ing the i30 N stand out from its more sen­si­ble sib­lings is a full bodykit, in­clud­ing new front and rear bumpers, side skirts and rear spoiler as well as black mir­rors. Six ex­te­rior colours are avail­able, the hero Per­for­mance Blue, shared with Hyundai’s i20 WRC cars, as well as Clean Slate, Po­lar White, Mi­cron Grey, Phan­tom Black and En­gine Red. In­side there’s a new steer­ing wheel, high per­for­mance seats in a choice of suede or leather and an elec­tronic in­stru­ment clus­ter with shift lights.

We’ll get our first taste of the fin­ished prod­uct later this year with first de­liv­er­ies ex­pected in early 2018. Pric­ing is yet to be con­firmed but Hyundai is look­ing for the two vari­ants to strad­dle the $40,000 mark; based on our promis­ing first im­pres­sions of the pro­to­type, the i30 N could give the es­tab­lish­ment a strong shake. Look out Golf GTI.

Mak­ing its first N model race­track ca­pa­ble was a key cri­te­ria in the de­vel­op­ment met­ric for Hyundai

N styling rel­a­tively sub­tle; Per­for­mance Blue hero colour shared with Hyundai WRC ma­chin­ery

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