Hyundai’s hot hatch

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drivetime Extra - WITH JOHN MURDOCH

Hyundai has un­veiled its first ever high­per­for­mance car – the i30 N.

The 2.0-litre hot hatch had its global pre­miere in Dus­sel­dorf along­side the trend­set­ting i30 Fast­back – the first ‘coupe’ in the hugely pop­u­lar com­pact fam­ily car mar­ket.

Along­side the new i30 hatch and the i30 Tourer, it gives the Korean man­u­fac­turer the big­gest line-up in the sec­tor.

Bosses at Hyundai Europe are ex­tremely ex­cited by the 130 N – the N logo sym­bol­ises a chi­cane – which has been de­vel­oped from the ground up to de­liver max­i­mum driv­ing plea­sure on the road, as well as on the track.

The N has been in­spired by Hyundai Mo­tor­sport’s ex­pe­ri­ence and suc­cess in the World Rally Championship since 2014.

Due to be launched across Europe by the end of the year, the i30 N is pow­ered by a 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine avail­able with two power out­puts.

The stan­dard model de­liv­ers 250ps or you can choose the Per­for­mance Pack­age which boosts power to 275ps.

Both de­liver max­i­mum torque of 353Nm and a top speed of 155mph – plenty for other hot hatch man­u­fac­tur­ers to think about. The 275ps ver­sion does the 0-62mph sprint in 6.1 sec­onds.

The i30 N – or ‘cor­ner ras­cal’ ac­cord­ing to Al­bert Bier­mann, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Hyundai’s high per­for­mance ve­hi­cle de­ci­sion – comes with front-wheel drive and a short-throw six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion with revmatch­ing.

Up­grade to the Per­for­mance Pack­age and there’s spe­cially de­vel­oped 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero tyres, launch con­trol, red brake calipers and larger discs. There’s also a physics-de­fy­ing Elec­tronic Lim­ited Slip Dif­fer­en­tial to ex­tract max­i­mum grip.

Yet the i30 N is as ev­ery­day prac­ti­cal as its sib­lings with all the same use­ful fea­tures, com­fort and con­nec­tiv­ity.

Hyundai is so con­fi­dent, the com­pany claims you could drive the i30 N to work and then use it on the track with­out changes be­cause its brakes have been de­vel­oped to last with an ex­tra cool­ing func­tion through the air in­takes on the front bumper.

Bier­mann, for­merly vi­cepres­i­dent en­gi­neer­ing of BMW’s M di­vi­sion, said: “The Hyundai i30 N has been de­vel­oped for no other pur­pose than to de­liver max­i­mum driv­ing fun to our cus­tomers in an ac­ces­si­ble high-per­for­mance pack­age.”

The N launch slightly over­shad­owed a sec­ond new i30 model – the Fast­back – the first el­e­gant five-door coupe to en­ter the com­pact seg­ment.

A sort of coupe-GT cross, the Fast­back fea­tures a slop­ing roofline, longer bon­net and a more mus­cu­lar body than its ev­ery­day sib­lings.

There’s wide wheel arches and the roof has been low­ered by 25mm. The chas­sis has also been low­ered and its suspension stiff­ened for more a sportier feel­ing. But, it’s ac­tu­ally more than 11 cen­time­tres longer than the five-door hatch.

No price has been re­vealed yet but there’s a choice be­tween a 1.4 T-GDI tur­bocharged four-cylin­der en­gine with 140ps or the 1.0-litre T-GDI tur­bocharged three-cylin­der en­gine with 120ps.

Two 1.6-litre turbo diesels pro­duc­ing 110ps and 136ps are on the way.

The Fast­back will be avail­able at the be­gin­ning of next year.

Hyundai also an­nounced it would be launch­ing 30 new models and de­riv­a­tives over the next five years, in­clud­ing more N models.

Classy And the Hyundai i30N i30 N is as ev­ery­day prac­ti­cal as its sib­lings

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