Hyundai Hones in on a Blistering Hot Hatch

So, the word on the street – or track – is that Hyundai is looking to up its performance game and is doing so by investing some serious time, attention, and bucks into its brand new “N” performance sub-brand. Behold! The RN30 concept vehicle, just a shade of what’s to come of Hyundai’s i30N production car, which is scheduled to be released next year. Color us intrigued…

In a sneaky, but sage move, Hyundai snapped up BMW’s Albert Biermann and gave him the reins to the N division. According to him, and he should know, here’s what’s coming…“What we will sell next year is closer to the i30 than the RN30. It has a nice differentiation to the base i30, with its sportiness. We are Hyundai, we have no established high-performance customer base and if we go from zero to top level of the segment, the question is how many customers can follow us there? It’s very robust, it’s track capable, but the first step cannot be too big.”

But big it is…equipped with a 2.0-liter beast of a turbocharged engine, made ever stronger by forged pistons, which – all told (or speculated) – generates a whopping 374 horsepower and 333 lb.-ft. of torque. To put this into some perspective, those numbers are shared with the 2017 BMW i20 WR and Mercedes’ own AMG A45.

In other words, Hyundai isn’t fooling around!

Ladies and gentlemen, Hyundai has officially entered the hot hatch arena.

Allow Biermann to prove the point: Power output will be sufficient to be established in this hot-hatch area. We’re not going for Nurburgring lap records! We will have two versions, a base version and a more performance oriented version and the character will be different. One will focus on everyday driving but be racetrack capable, the other is more track going. You can expect more power from that. We start with a manual transmission, but we’re developing a nice wet-clutch 8-speed DCT, as soon as it’s ready we’ll put in the N car.

Depending on your driving needs and preferences, not to mention your geographic location, the only drawback we can see is the lack of all-wheel drive, though that might not be the case for long. As Biermann explains, “We are just starting, the performance level that we are offering does not require all-wheel drive.”

Sure, that makes sense. But, now for the really important question – when can we get one?

According to Biermann, “We have a testing prototype with 300bhp and torque vectoring and an electronic differential, everything, so that car already exists but it’s not the i30N you’ll see. It’s all advanced technology and we look into this and test it. But we do a lot of advanced projects in Namyang, but very often there’s no decision for mass production.”

Well, that’s alright, considering we can get those racing bucket seats, sci-fi-looking butterfly doors, and floating C-Pillars, which lead up to the gargantuan spoiler atop the roof. We are ready to hear the “Electronic Variable Exhaust System,” which reportedly bestows upon drivers and riders a “surge of aural pleasure by emitting a strong exhaust sound consistent with the visceral sensations produced by the rapid acceleration.”

Hurry up and bring on the aural pleasure, Hyundai! We’re ready to test the limits of this hot hatch. 


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