Hyundai’s hot i30 N takes to the track

Think hot hatchback and you tend to think Volkswagen Golf GTI, not Hyundai i30. But that could be set to change with the i30 N, the first consumer product of Hyundai's upcoming N division.

A GTI-rivalling hot hatchback, the i30 N seems to have all the ingredients to worry the established competition. Underneath the subtly beefed-up bodywork lies a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which will be available in two states of tune. The standard car puts out 247bhp – a healthy lump more than the standard Golf GTI.

An optional Performance Package pushes this up to 271bhp – ten bhp more than the hardcore Golf GTI Clubsport S. In terms of power, then, the i30 N certainly won't embarrass itself.

But will it have any poise or handling prowess to go along with the power? On-track video footage certainly shows the car cornering flat and composed, but the more exciting news is the man heading up the i30 N's development. It's Albert Biermann, formerly of BMW's M division, which knows a thing or two about producing great performance cars.

Hyundai's developed the car's suspension and handling with extensive testing on the Nurburgring circuit, as well as some of the UK's toughest roads. It may have been the endless potholes and ruts of the latter which led Hyundai to outfit the i30 N with adaptive dampers as standard.

Basic cars get 18-inch alloy wheels, but Performance Pack-equipped cars upgrade these to 19-inches and also wraps them in specially developed Pirelli tyres. A limited-slip differential makes an appearance too, for greater handling finesse.

Inside, expect to see fairly subtle interior upgrades – body-hugging sports seats and an N-specific steering wheel with extra controls for the adaptive driver modes.

So could Hyundai's first ever hot hatchback have what it takes to rise to the top of the hot hatchback class? We'll have to wait for a proper drive before we can say for sure, but the ingredients seem promising. Watch the video below for a full tour of the new i30 N.
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