The Volkswagen Golf GTI has long been the king of the hot hatchbacks, but it has a formidable new foe in the way of the 2018 Hyundai i30 N.
While the i30 N won’t arrive in North America, the hatchback is important as it represents the official launch of Hyundai’s ‘N’ performance sub-brand. The first N model that we’ll get stateside and in Canada will be a hot version of the roomier Veloster and while little is known about that car, the i30 N gives us a good indication of what to expect.
Let’s start with the most important part: the powertrain. Under the hood of the i30 N is Hyundai’s 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine, which is making 246 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. An optional Performance Package is available which boosts output to 271 horsepower, but torque stays the same. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching. Hyundai claims a 0-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds for the standard model and 6.1 seconds for the Performance Package.
Helping the i30 N remain handy through the twisties are electronically controlled dampers adjusted via the five-mode drive select system. The system includes Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom modes and also changes engine, traction control, e-diff, exhaust, adaptive steering and rev-match parameters. Performance Pack models will get an active exhaust system in addition to 19-inch wheels shod in Pirelli high-performance rubber (18-inch units with Michelin rubber are standard) and larger front and rear brake discs with red calipers.
Interior performance touches include a chunky N steering wheel with easily-accessible buttons for the drive modes and active exhaust, a blue-stitched gear shift lever, an electronic instrument cluster and high-performance sport seats. Hyundai says customers will be able to choose from a combination of suede and leather upholstery or cloth. A 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard while a larger 8.0-inch screen is available as well. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard with both systems.
Just like the regular i30, the N offers a host of active safety systems, with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert, Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Information and Automatic High Beam Assist all on the table. It will be available in six different exterior colors: Performance Blue (shown), Clean Slate, Polar White, Micron Grey, Phantom Black and Engine Red.
Hyundai has yet to provide details on pricing or availability for its new hot hatch, but more details may become available following its official unveiling at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.