It feels like Hyundai has been teasing the i30 N since forever, but the hot hatch does deserve the special treatment considering it is being billed as the company’s “first high-performance car.” Seen here is a thoroughly camouflaged prototype carrying the production body while being put through its paces by Thierry Neuville, a WRC driver for Hyundai Motorsport.
He was asked by Hyundai to test the car on a frozen lake in Arjeplog, Sweden and then provide his valuable input in regards to the tweaks the engineers have to implement to make the i30 N better in time for the production model’s debut. The South Korean automaker is currently fine-tuning the hot hatch’s limited-slip differential and electronic stability control, while the steering and the suspension are also being optimized. In addition, the engineers are paying extra attention to the shock absorbers and tires fitted onto prototypes that have to undergo extreme weather conditions, with temperatures dropping to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).
Hyundai is making all of these efforts to ensure the go-faster i30 will be nimble and agile around the corners to make it worthy of its “N” logo, which symbolizes a chicane and is also a connection to the Nürburgring in Germany where the company has its own test center.
The wraps will finally come off the i30 N in the latter part of the year, so we will likely see it at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September before going on sale shortly thereafter in Europe. When it will arrive, Hyundai’s answer to the likes of Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST will be powered by a newly developed turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine.
In standard specification, the i30 N will have 250 horsepower (186 kilowatts), while an optional performance package will dial the four-cylinder engine to 275 hp (205 kW). In addition, the more expensive version will also come with the aforementioned diff and will likely boast bigger brakes and a further optimized transmission providing quicker gear shifts.
Speaking of a gearbox, the i30 N will be offered at first only with a six-speed manual, but a dual-clutch automatic will be added later in the model’s life cycle. While initially it’s going to be a front-wheel-drive car, Hyundai has already admitted it is analyzing the prospects of doing an AWD model to go after other all-paw performance hatchbacks like the Golf R and Focus RS.
The N version is going to be the third model of the i30 range after the five-door hatchback and the wagon and will be followed early 2018 by a sleek fastback body style already spotted several times.
Gallery: 2018 Hyundai i30 N teaser - winter testing in Sweden
HYUNDAI MOTOR’S FIRST HIGH-PERFORMANCE MODEL: THE HYUNDAI i30 N – WINTER TESTING IN SWEDEN WITH THIERRY NEUVILLE
- Hyundai i30 N will be Hyundai Motor’s first high-performance car, currently at the development stage before being launched in Europe in the second half of 2017
- Enhancing the i30 family with a third member and adding a high-performance model to provide maximum driving enjoyment for everyone
- Hyundai Motor’s N brings together motorsport experience and high-performance road car development, with Thierry Neuville testing the car in Sweden
March 15, 2017 – Hyundai Motor is carrying out winter testing on its first high-performance model: the i30 N. Due to be launched across Europe in the second half of 2017, the i30 N will be the third member of the i30 family, following the launch of the five-door version in January and the i30 Wagon at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Hyundai Motor’s first N model will bring together motorsport experience and high-performance road car development, creating maximum driving enjoyment on the road and on the track in an accessible high-performance car package.
During the recent winter testing in Sweden, Thierry Neuville, World Rally Championship driver of Hyundai Motorsport, tested the car on a frozen lake to get a feeling for its performance and to provide feedback to the engineers in order to further enhance the development process. His driving experience and feedback were captured on video, now released for enthusiasts to see.
“So many people have been looking forward to this car, so it’s a pleasure for me to be testing it,” said Thierry Neuville. “The engineers have done a great job on the gearbox and the differential. There is good traction and good stability in the slippery testing conditions. And it’s very easy to handle. A normal driver should get a sensation similar to that of a racing car.”
Hyundai Motor is undergoing winter testing in Arjeplog, Sweden to develop and tune the car’s dynamic systems. The Electronic Stability Control, the Limited Slip Differential, the steering, shock absorbers, suspension and tyres are all being tested under extreme weather conditions, with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Alexander Eichler, Head of High-Performance Vehicle Test and Development at Hyundai Motor Europe’s Technical Centre, outlined the objective for the i30 N as follows: “The main target for us is to ensure driving enjoyment. Symbolising a chicane, the ‘N’ logo embodies this aspect - an agile vehicle that is fun to drive.”