GTI, ST, RS, Type R, watch out! N is coming.
The Golf, Focus, Megane, and Civic in their FWD hot hatch specifications will soon have to face a new rival in the form of the i30. It will be Hyundai’s first fully fledged N model and we are only a few weeks away from its world debut likely scheduled to take place at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Meanwhile, the i30 N is at the Nurburgring where the sporty compact car is undergoing a final round of testing necessary to make last-minute tweaks.
The heavily camouflaged prototype had all the production body panels, lights, wheels, and so on, thus suggesting it’s approaching the end of its testing phase. It was being pushed quite hard around the Nordschleife to make sure it will live up to the challenge of being a true rival for the more established names in the business. The 183-horsepower i30 Turbo of the previous model’s generation was a decent effort, but it did not have the credentials to really put up a good fight against the likes of Golf GTI and Focus ST.
That will all change with the i30 N, which is set to use a newly developed turbocharged 2.0-liter engine expected to be offered in two states of tune: 250 hp and 275 hp. Those willing to fork out the premium that comes with the beefier model will also get to enjoy other upgrades, among which we’ll only mention the limited-slip differential.
At first, Hyundai will sell the car exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox, but an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is going to be added later on. The i30 N might also get a grippy AWD arrangement to go after the Golf R and Focus RS, but it won’t happen in the near future.
It’s too soon to talk about all the performance details, though we do know straight from Hyundai the i30 N will top out at 155 mph (250 kph), presumably in the case of the higher-specification model.
While the model is not destined to reach United States, the automaker has told us go-faster models from the new performance division will begin to hit stateside in 2018. The identity of the U.S.-bound vehicles has not been disclosed, but the Veloster N seems like a safe bet.
Note: Photos below are showing a different prototype.