Strap yourself in for sub $41k Hyundai i30N fun
THE i30N's price will need to be as honed as its performance prowess if Hyundai hopes to make a serious dent in the hot hatch segment.
Global details of the i30N were officially revealed this week, with the five-door hatch claiming 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds.
That matches the obvious rivals from Ford's Focus ST to the VW Golf GTI. Now it has to match on price, which means a sub-$41,000 starting price for the "standard” N and something under $50,000 for the higher-tuned N Performance.
Standard gear on the base N includes lower, stiffer suspension with adaptive damping, a switchable rev-matching function, an artificial sound generator and 18-inch Michelin rubber. Torque vectoring is used to quell the 184kW/353Nm on tap from its 2.0-litre turbo.
The Performance version ups the power to 202kW and rides on bespoke HM-branded 19-inch Pirelli rubber with upgraded brakes. It employs an electronic limited-slip diff and bi-modal exhaust to improve track performance and around-town ambience as well as shaving 0.2 sec from the 100km/h sprint time.
Each version has launch control software and five driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and a programmable M Custom that alters steering feel, exhaust sound, rev-matching, electronic stability control and limited-slip diff operation.
Both versions are restricted to a six-speed manual transmission until an eight-speed dual-clutch arrives in early 2019. Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas said the absence of an auto won't be a big initial issue when the car goes on sale around November.
"The people who buy this type of car are enthusiasts and initially we don't see any problems from having it as a manual-only,” he says.
The Golf comes in manual or dual-clutch auto guise; the Focus ST is manual-only and the Subaru WRX is a manual with CVT option.
A blue-accented theme highlights the performance ambitions of the i30N, from the stitching on the steering wheel to the highlights around the gearshift.
Sports seats are standard, trimmed in cloth or leather/suede and the electronic instrument display includes a gearshift timing light and a variable rev limit depending on driving performance and engine oil temperature.
The i30N is Hyundai's first attempt at a halo car and the company is talking up the hatch's versatility as a track day weapon and weekday commuter.
Hyundai high-performance division chief Albert Biermann - who was previously performance guru at BMW - says the vehicle's focus is on the fun factor.
"With the high-performance N models we will enhance our brand's appeal with emotional products (for) people who love to have a smile on their face when they drive their car on a winding road and listen to the sound of the engine,” he said.
"We measure high-performance in BPM, heart beats per minute, instead of only RPM.”