Finally had the opportunity to drive the performance model from Hyundai, the I30 N, which is the first mass produced performance car from the Korean marque. Styled as a bit of a GTI ‘’killer’’ the car certainly hits the mark in terms of looks, performance, handling etc.
Developed under three pillars-namely ‘’fun to drive’’, Cornering & race-track capability, it delivers on definitely the first two. Race-track capability is a stretch with the large portion of real speedsters, currently on the road. But it will give the GTI & the Renault Megane Trophy a run for their money.
The N stands for Namyang, which is Hyundai’s Motors global Research & Development centre in Korea, and for the Nurburgring, where the I30N spent 10 000km driving for testing.
So let’s have a look at the exterior styling. The I30N is a five door hatch, and comes with the defining Hyundai cascading grille, which provides more air cooling to the engine and brakes. It has 19-inch wheels with 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero high performance tyres, with red brake calipers featuring the N-logo. Coupled with aggressive bumpers with larger air-intakes and a red character line.
It has an aerodynamic rear spoiler with a triangular brake light, and a dual exhaust muffler, which gives it a very sporty look.
The cabin hosts an impressive array of performance measuring apps, which can be viewed on the 8-inch media screen. All sorts of beats per minute for heart rate as well as a G-force meter and others, help to make the driving experience more pleasurable.
Entertainment features include smart-device synching with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. It also has five modes of driving from Eco through to Sport and Individual.
So let’s look at this hot hatch’s performance. It has some serious giddyup, with the 2 Litre engine punching out a veritable 202kw, which is way more than the GTI, and more than the Megane Trophy as well. I did not test them simultaneously, so do not know who would beat who, as sometimes kw do not always make up the ultimate factor. But one thing is sure, the I30N gets from 0 to 100km/h in 6.1 secs and feels plenty fast.
A Limited Slip Differential helps keep this baby on the road, and cornering is a dream. The twin exhausts, make a decent enough growl, and many petrolheads gave it the look.
The I30N will be for sale at 14 selected dealerships across SA, and comes at quite a hefty price of R679 900, which includes a 7-year/200 000km warranty, or 5 year/75 000km service plan.
I really enjoyed my drive in the Hyundai I30N, but it might be a while before the legions of GTI & Megane fans make the switch.