The i30N acted as the caffeine tablet we all needed to wake us up to the fact that Hyundai is making serious moves in the industry. No longer is it the throwaway car that was driven by your grandma. Now, the automaker is building performance cars that stem from the potent bloodline of BMW‘s finest with Albert Biermann behind the chassis and driving experience at the forefront of the N line of cars.
This small hatch, only weighing 1190kg, is powered by a turbo 1.6-litre four-pot. This pokey engine delivers 202bhp between 5,500 and 6,000rpm, meaning you’ll never get tired of wringing this playful powertrain through the height of the rev range. 203lb ft of torque comes online from 1,750rpm, and it will reach 62mph in just 6.7 seconds. Keep your foot planted, and it will reach a respectable 143mph. A six-speed manual ‘box delivers power to the front wheels through a limited-slip mechanical “N Corner Carving Differential”.
There are a number of modes available via the “N Grin Control System”, and while that term will never be repeated down the pub, you have almost total reign over the car’s systems with Normal, Eco, Sport, N, and N Custom modes, as well as three-stage ESP settings with the most aggressive turning it off completely. It even has launch control and, if you really want it, an automatic rev-matching feature available at the touch of a button.
The i20 chassis has had an overhaul, too, with 12 separate parts being reinforced for rigidity and a change to the suspension geometry resulting in negative camber. We’ve also been treated to a front anti-roll bar, all-new springs and dampers, and stopping power has been improved thanks to 40mm discs upfront.
As discussed when we saw the teaser for this new hot hatch, there’s a new bodykit to match the numbers. It has larger air intakes, sharper sideskirts, and at the rear sits a diffuser and matching wing. The car sits lower, too, over 18-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber.
The interior has been upgraded with the usual N accessories that we’ve grown accustomed to: a new wheel, N-branded shift knob, and metal pedals. But, as if this wasn’t enough to excite you, the pricing potential has got us panting. With the i30N priced very nicely in comparison to its standard i30 variant, we could be in for a £20,000 i20-based hot hatch. Now isn’t that just the cherry on the cake?