EV power is the great equaliser, according to Tim Rodgers – big battery, big power, big tyres, zero to 100km/h in less than four seconds – and ultra-fast examples are relatively easy to do. As Hyundai Australia product development manager, he should know.

Rodgers spent a year and a half on three continents helping to hone the suspension and systems of the new high performance Ioniq 5 N all-electric vehicle.

The absence of ICE limitations and the scope for new technologies was daunting initially. However, it made the development of Ioniq 5 N a rewarding process, he said.
The car showcases Hyundai N’s three core principles of everyday sports car, Corner Rascal (dynamic ride and handling) and racetrack capability.

The N’s body, cooling architecture, friction and regenerative braking systems, axle design and geometry take nothing from the Ioniq 5. The Ioniq 5 N sells from $111,000, plus on-road costs. It comes as a fully kitted out car with only two options: a fixed glass roof and matte paint.

With the internal combustion engine increasingly being shown the door in favour of electric power, the days of a dominant, and often untidy, radiator grille are numbered.
Designers are increasingly being offered a free hand to create a unique front end.

Such is the case with the Ioniq 5 N with its glossy black front bumper with air curtain slots and active air flaps, reinforced by an EV N-exclusive luminous orange strip, highlighting the car’s wide stance.

Wheel arch mouldings outrun the Ioniq 5’s by 50 mm to take in wide front and rear tracks and incorporate rear air guides for optimal aerodynamics. The car’s profile is carried off N-exclusive lightweight 21-inch forged alloy wheels shod in high performance 275/35R21 Pirelli P-Zero HN tyres.

A rear bumper features N-exclusive air outlets, and chequered flag pixel reflectors, while a rear spoiler increases the car length by 100 mm over the Ioniq 5 and sports a high-mounted stop light. A diffuser features a central reflector and is bordered by an EV N-exclusive orange strip.

The test car was painted in Ecotronic Grey, one of range of colours including optional matte shades.

Longer, wider and lower than its Ioniq 5 cousin, the large ‘living room’ is designed to put the occupants in a position to make the best of a high-performance driving experience.
N-light heated and ventilated sports front seats are endowed with superb lateral support for those high-speed corners. Seats are adjusted manually through hard-to-reach handles underneath, which is completely out of Ioniq 5 character and rare for such an expensive car.

There are pillar-fixed rear air vents, a fold-down centre armrest with cupholders, bottle holders in the doors. A vehicle-to-load (V2L) connector with domestic three-pin outlet sits under the rear seat.

The boot will take 480 litres of gear with the seat backs up and up to 1540 litres with seats folded. There is no spare wheel, only a tyre repair kit.

A stack of car technology is featured in the Ioniq 5 N, including Bluelink, over-the-air software updating, plus highway driving assistance with N specific 12.3-inch instrument cluster and windscreen head-up display, particularly useful on track driving.

Wireless smartphone connectivity supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A centrally mounted digital rear-view mirror, while displaying a clear picture of what’s behind the car, takes a second or so for the eyes to focus on the image.

Soothing Sounds of Nature are served up accurately through the vehicle’s Bose premium audio with external amplifier and eight speakers – as is stuff from Rachmaninoff to the Rolling Stones.

Power is delivered to the Ioniq 5 N by dual electric motors and an all-wheel drive system. Up front is a 166 kW / 350 Nm unit and rear is 282 kW / 390 Nm. On boost this is upped to 175 kW and 303 Nm, respectively.

The 84.0 kWh lithium-ion battery is good for a claimed range of 448 kilometres. Claimed combined efficiency (WLTP) is 21.2kWh/100km. The tester averaged 20.2kWh/100km on the motorway.

The Ioniq 5 N carries six airbags and front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners. All the common Hyundai active safety features are embedded’, as is satellite navigation.

The Ioniq 5 N driver is presented with a semi-perforated leather steering wheel, designed for extensive track use and features fingertip access through buttons for Drive Mode, N Grin Boost Mode and N Custom modes.

The driver is given further consideration with a centre console which includes thigh pads for support during lateral G-force action and large grippy metal pedals and footrests.

A word about N Grin Boost that engages for 10 seconds followed by a compulsory 10sec cool-off. Going from an already potent combined 448kW up to the maximum 478kW does stiffen the feeling, particularly from the get-go.

N Drift Optimizer, N Pedal and Launch Control serve up a touch of fun circuit driving, while features such as N Torque Distribution help support trackwork.

With a lot going on, little mechanical sound escapes most EVs, and the Ionic 5 N is no exception. This has led to Hyundai adding an aural backing to the high-performance vehicle.

Hence the N Active Sound system that allows the driver to select a soundtrack for the car’s performance, from ICE, with backfire sound effect; evolution, a futuristic EV note; or supersonic fighter jet with sonic boom. N e-Shift, with its simulated gearshift feel, augments the ‘symphony’.

Charging raised one inconvenience when the local public fast charger conked. Fortunately, there was enough charge on board the tester to make it to another site, at the local sports centre.

The battery was topped up from 50 per cent to 95 per cent in 50 minutes – just time to enjoy a coffee and croissant at the caf while watching a schools’ volleyball tournament – plenty of kinetic energy here. The charge? A cent or two over $14.

I’ll let engineer Tim Rodgers have the last word on the Ioniq 5 N EV: “We’re not interested in setting a benchmark lap time on N rburgring, or any other circuit, because outright performance is secondary to the core mission, which is fun, character, emotion and connection with the machine.” Mmm!

Looks – 8
Performance – 9
Safety – 7
Thirst – 5
Practicality – 5
Comfort – 7
Tech – 8
Value – 6


Ioniq 5 N $111,000
Vision roof $2000
Matte paint $2000
Note: this price does not include government of dealer delivery charges. Contact your Hyundai local dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Ioniq 5 N Dual Motor EV, auto, AWD)

Battery capacity: 84kWh
Maximum power (front): 166kW
Maximum torque (front): 350Nm
Maximum power (rear): 282kW
Maximum torque (rear): 390Nm
Maximum power 448kW / 478kW (N Grin Boost)
Maximum torque: 740Nm / 770Nm (N Grin Boost)
Font wheel motor: 175kW / 370Nm
Rear wheel motor: 303kW / 400Nm
Maximum speed: 260km/h
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 3.5sec / 3.4sec (Grin Boost)
Driving Range: 448km
Combined efficiency (WLTP): 21.2kWh/100km

DRIVELINE: Dual motor, single speed, reduction gear, all-wheel drive

Length: 4715mm
Width: 1940mm
Wheelbase: 3000mm
Turning circle: 12.4m
Kerb weight: 2200kg

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres
Battery eight years / 160,000 kilometres replacement



About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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