First N-badged Hyundai performance model has been testing at the ‘Ring before it goes on sale this autumn for less than £30,000
The hot Hyundai i30N – a rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST, will be revealed at 1pm today, alongside the i30’s Fastback variant.
Hyundai previewed its upcoming i30N in a new video of the hot hatch at the Nürburgring – released before the car is revealed on 13 July.
In the footage, the brand’s head of vehicle testing and high performance development, Albert Biermann, says the car has been developed to withstand long stints at track pace.
Along with its road car testing, the brand entered two racing i30Ns into this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hour event – something it said has helped improve the road car.
Alongside its ‘Ring running, Hyundai has also brought development versions of the car to Britain to hone its setup to roads here. Biermann said of the UK stints: «We have to make sure that on these challenging UK roads, the driving performance is also comfortable enough for everyday driving.»
The car is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that’s expected to produce about 260bhp. This would bring it into close contention with the next Focus ST, which is predicted to have 275bhp, and well ahead of the Golf GTI, which currently peaks with 242bhp.
The i30N’s engine will come mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, or, from 2018, an optional automatic transmission.
The i30N will also be made available with a track-focused performance package that will further boost engine performance.
Biermann has hinted that the i30N could have a top speed of about 155mph. He also said a four-wheel-drive version could follow, suggesting a rival to the Ford Focus RS is being considered. This was supported by the unveiling of the 375bhp RN30 concept.
Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville drove the car in Sweden and offered his own input to setup, as shown in the video below.
“Our car will be affordable,” said Biermann, who in 2014 left his job as vice president of engineering at BMW’s M performance car arm to oversee Hyundai’s new N division. The car is expected to be priced at less than £30,000, with Hyundai stressing that N division’s focus will be on «affordable performance«.
Biermann also confirmed that Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury standalone sister brand, will get high-performance variants of its models, and suggested it would be available in the UK.
«We will go into different markets and regions with N,» Biermann said. «We will also develop high-performance cars for the Genesis brand but they won’t have the N badge. N is just the sub-label for Hyundai cars.»
Hyundai launched its third and final version of the Ioniq earlier this year. The car is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric car, and Biermann hinted that hybrid powertrains would play a part in N’s future.
«We have everything available,» he said. «It’s too early now [for hybrid powertrains in N cars], but the time will come soon, definitely.»
The car’s engine produced 259bhp and 227lb ft at 6000rpm, suggesting the final road car could offer similar performance.
Hyundai has been working on the development of performance models since 2013, when it first launched the ‘N’ brand as part of its World Rally Championship assault. The company has a 3600m2 test facility at the Nürburgring.