It's going to pack as much as 275 horsepower.

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).

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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.

2017 Hyundai i30 N spy photo
2017 Hyundai i30 N spy photo

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.

Source: Hyundai

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