HYUNDAI I30 N: THE REAL DEAL

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This is the one driving enthusiasts worldwide have been speculating on for years; a hot-hatch from Korea to compete with those from Japan and Europe.

The Hyundai i30 N is aimed squarely at Subaru WRX, Volkswagen Golf GTi and the like. Being a brand new design it has the latest performance components both in mechanical and electronics. You get a lot of car for a pretty modest $39,990 plus on roads.

Hyundai’s ’N’ Performance Division is named for both the Namyang R&D Centre in Namyang, South Korea and for the famed Nurburgring in Germany where Hyundai has another test centre.

Such is Australians taste for high-performance variants – we often come number one in global sales on a per capita basis with other marques – that the i30 N comes to Australia only in its topline version. That is the 202 kW (270 horsepower) ’Performance’ model which is the equivalent to i30 N ‘Performance Package’ vehicle sold in the countries.

Development work was also carried out in Australia, including local suspension and steering setups, as well as hot weather testing.

The powerplant is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder unit that delivers 202 kW at 6000rpm and 353Nm from 1450 to 4700 revs. Using overboost maximum torque can be as high as 378 Nm (1750 – 4200) for up to 18 seconds.

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Drive to the front wheels is though a six-speed manual gearbox. An eight speed double-clutch automatic transmission is under development but won’t be here until late 2019. This delay in introducing the auto may initially hinder sales, but true high-performance drivers often prefer to do their own gearchanges. This despite the fact that modern autos are generally quicker than manuals.

The N styling takes the standard i30 hatch and adds genuine aero aids to improve stability and downforce. A front under-bumper, side skirts, flics on the rear guards and a high-level rear wing all play their part.

Inside is a pair of cloth-upholstered sports front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, alloy pedals, an ’N’ race computer and gearshift lights.

In addition to the standard factory Satellite Navigation system, the i30 N has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as a wireless inductive charging pad for mobile phones (Qi standard) on the Luxury Pack option.

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Hyundai’s i30 N comes in six exterior colours. The hero shade is Performance Blue as seen on the World Rally Championship. Can’t say I liked the light blue when I first saw photos of it, but in the metal it’s far more attractive and ties in well with the black details.

Other colours available are: Clean Slate, Polar White, Micron Grey, Phantom Black and Engine Red. Colour enhancements include black side sills and gloss black exterior mirror shells.

In a fascinating move Hyundai in Australia is keen to align the i30 N with motorsports. Believe it or not the standard Hyundai five-year, unlimited distance warranty covers track use, that is provided the car is used in non-competition events.

The new i30 N is built in Europe at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing in Nosovice, Czech Republic.

DRIVING
We have carried out extensive road and track tests on the new Hyundai i30 N in the Snowy Mountains and at Winton Motor Raceway. However Hyundai has put an embargo on this until March 29.

In the meantime may we whet your appetite?

“Australia’s pot-holed and speed hump-riddled urban centres, along with our constantly bumpy and patchy mountain roads, proved challenging during our pre-production testing,” said Andrew Tuitahi, HMCA’s Senior Product Planning Manager and lead test driver. “Our goal was to introduce a little more suppleness into the way the car moves.”

When the South Koreans get serious they really do go all the way: high-performance Pirelli P-Zero HN 235/35×19 tyres were developed specifically i30 N.

The i30 N’s Launch Control System manages engine torque, speed and turbo boost for standing start acceleration.

Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) independently, manages front and rear body-roll, as well as pitch and dive. This can be adjusted by the driver through the 8.0-inch touchscreen, with settings across a wide range, from comfort-oriented daily driving to high-intensity track work.

Hyundai i30 N’s electronically controlled mechanical limited slip differential (E-LSD) is claimed to increase cornering speeds by up to five percent.

The new i30 N also features an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system with optional ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ modes. Sport mode allows drivers to explore their abilities with a wider safety net, while Sport+ deactivates ESC altogether and allows for left foot braking.

Aural driving pleasure can be further enhanced by selecting from several modes on an active variable exhaust system.

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