Had your Chips?

Re­port 8 Hyundai i30N

Top Gear (UK) - - GARAGE | AWARDS 2018 - STEPHEN DOBIE

There is no greater vin­di­ca­tion of the i30N’s qual­ity than this. RaceChip, buried deep in Ger­many’s tun­ing scene, has mod­i­fied a Hyundai hot hatch rather than its usual Mercs, Porsches and VWs.

An ECU remap and a new ex­haust sys­tem lift the i30N’s out­puts to 316bhp, iden­ti­cal to a Civic Type R, and 387lb ft, just 11lb ft off a Fer­rari 458 Spe­ciale. Yikes. There’s 15mm-lower Eibach sus­pen­sion, 3kg-lighter OZ forged wheels and Miche­lin Pi­lot Sport 4S tyres. You can spec it all sep­a­rately from €660, but the mods listed to­tal five grand.

Some big changes, then, yet they serve to am­plify the i30N’s ex­ist­ing traits rather than rein­vent its char­ac­ter, which is what I ad­mire most in tuner cars. There’s the same ram­bunc­tious at­ti­tude, just with added pre­ci­sion.

I had no idea the stock i30N had any slack in its steer­ing un­til I ex­pe­ri­enced the snappy turn-in of RaceChip’s, while the wheel­spin that af­flicts our car in lower gears has been erad­i­cated. Im­pres­sive, given the ex­tra per­for­mance, and those tyres can prob­a­bly take as much credit as how sub­tly in­te­grated its ex­tra torque is.

Its ad­di­tional 108lb ft is most tan­gi­ble when the 2.0-litre turbo in­stantly punches in higher gears, mak­ing this a much bet­ter au­to­bahn car (a very Ger­man prob­lem to have fixed). But not only does the grey car have the same power as a Type R, it feels like it op­er­ates at the same level. If I were to keep our i30N for my­self (I wish), I’d be very tempted to give RaceChip a call.

Proof pos­i­tive that tun­ing doesn’t al­ways mean ru­in­ing

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