Ironically, at the same time Hyundai was announcing a new i30 N, to be launched in Australia next year, I was in possession of the current model Fastback.

Unveiling the new i30 N, Hyundai has promised drivers a better experience whether on racetrack or road. For the first time the new car will be available with a wet-type eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifts and three new N performance modes for sportier results.

Weight has been reduced for improved agility by new 19-inch alloy wheels and lighter seats, while additional high-performance driving features and updated safety and connectivity add further to exciting promise.

As Hyundai?s first high-performance production car the i30 N hatchback was launched in Europe in 2017. No sooner had the Hyundai i30 N begun to make its way in the world of hot hatches than a Fastback version came up on the outside challenging for bragging rights.

The i30 Fastback N is at home both on road or racetrack, so much so that the five-door coupe is covered by a factory warranty for non-competitive trackwork, and the fitment of high-performance semi-slick tyres. It comes as a single-spec model at $42,910, plus on-road costs.

The i30 Fastback N can be personalised with a couple of options ? the Luxury Pack ($3000) and the Luxury Pack with Panoramic Sunroof ($5000). The test car was the base model without the Luxury embellishments and sunroof.  

The sleek profile is responsible for a seven per cent aerodynamic advantage over the hatch. The body of the five-door coupe is 120 mm longer and 21 mm lower compared with the i30 N hatchback, with a drag coefficient of 0.30 Cd, a reduction of seven per cent.

At the rear, a spoiler and an aggressive bumper design are highlighted by a gloss black boot-lip spoiler. The lower section behind incorporates a diffuser and reflective lower character line, while a unique triangular rear fog lamp is integrated between the twin exhaust tailpipes.

From the side, enlarged wheel arch openings take in N-specific 19-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers with the ?N? logo, a black side sill and gloss black exterior mirror housings.

In line with its sibling hatch, the Fastback shows off the ?N? logo everywhere – engraved in each wheel rim, on the flash red brake calipers that clamp big, ventilated brake rotors, as well as on the signature radiator grille and side skirts.

Black headlamp bezels give the front an aggressive look, while air inlets on either side of the bumper not only enhance brake cooling and aid aerodynamics but also form a focal point for the horizontal LED daytime running lights above.

Air curtains are mounted behind the grille adding to the car?s performance by enhancing airflow and reducing turbulence in the wheel housings, while increasing engine cooling.

The front splitter and rear spoiler create performance-boosting downforce and dual exhausts underscore the car?s sporty looks.

The ubiquitous N logo highlights a cabin theme of red highlights, with red stitching for the understated black fabric. Red stitching is repeated on the gear lever boot and gear knob, and leather steering wheel. Red also surrounds the driver and passenger side air-conditioning outlets.

The N logo features on the steering wheel and the ball-type gear knob, while metal sports pedals complete the driver-focused theme.

Well-connected is an understatement when it comes to how the i30 Fastback N relates to the driver, with driving modes displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen, including data such as power and torque output and turbo boost pressure. Also inbuilt are lap time, G-force and acceleration timer functions.

The specific N Mode screen menu provides access to customisable settings for the engine, suspension, steering, differential, transmission, Rev Matching, exhaust sound and stability control.

As well as factory-fitted satellite navigation, the i30 Fastback N features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The i30 Fastback N is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual and an electro-mechanical limited-slip differential.

Peak power of 202 kW is achieved at 6000rpm, and maximum torque of 353 Nm from 1450 to 4700rpm. A turbo overboost function is activated when maximum torque is reached, lifting the torque peak to 378 Nm for up to 18 seconds.

As well as a high standard of body strength and passive safety features i30 Fastback N occupants benefit from the standard inclusion of the Hyundai SmartSense active safety suite, which includes forward collision avoidance assist, audible driver attention warning, and lane keeping assist.

The i30 Fastback N makes the best of a new, N suspension tune teamed with the same 202 kW, 353 Nm 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as its sibling.

The new chassis tune, taken up around the world, is the result of development at the Hyundai Motor Europe Nürburgring Test Centre, with Australian engineering input going that of many others.

High-performance choices are controlled from the steering wheel. An ?N? button with a chequered flag icon below the right spoke engages N-mode or N custom. Above are buttons to engage rev matching and to the left the three pre-defined drive modes ? Normal, Sport and Eco.

Sequential gear-shift lights placed above the instruments indicating when to select the next ratio. A reduced redline is indicated during engine warm-up and shifted to its normal spot when full oil temperature is reached.

A word about launch control: in N drive mode and ESC Sport mode, with first gear selected and the clutch and accelerator depressed fully, the Launch Control system holds engine revs between 3600 and 4900 rpm for up to five seconds.

When the clutch is engaged the system manages engine torque, speed and turbo boost to deliver maximum torque to the road, hence standing-start acceleration. Zoom, zero to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.

And how about engine sound? A variable system lets the driver select different sounds via a special exhaust valve and electronic sound generator in the cabin at the base of the windscreen.

A sport-inspired crackle-and-pop backfire sound can be selected to annoy everyone in your neighbourhood.

The Rev Matching function automatically ?blips? the throttle when shifting into a lower gear, synchronising engine speed to the input shaft speed for smoother gear selection.

However, it?s not all about the driver. Occupants are ensconced in comfortable, supportive seats with reasonable legroom all round. Headroom in the rear is surprisingly good considering the swoopy nature of the roofline.

Unfortunately, the driver?s view through the rear window is limited by the angle of the steeply raked glass.

It may be on the way out, but there?s plenty to please the driving enthusiast with the Hyundai i30 Fastback N. The new model next year can do little to challenge the classic-car status of the superseded coupe.


Hyundai i30 Fastback N manual Coupe $42,910
Metallic / Mica paint $495
Luxury Pack $3000
Luxury Pack with Panoramic sunroof $5000

Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (i30 Fastback N 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged GDi petrol engine, 6sp manual, 5dr Coupe)
Capacity: 1998 cc
Configuration: 2-litre, 4-cylinder, turbo, six-speed manual
Maximum Power: 202 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 353 Nm @ 1450-4700 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 8.0 litres per 100 km
CO2 emissions 186 g / km

Drivetrain: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive

Length: 4455 mm
Width: 1795 mm
Height: 1419 mm
Wheelbase: 2650 mm
Kerb weight: 1441-1520 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Turning circle: 11.6 m

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

5 years / unlimited kilometres

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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