Earlier this week, Hyundai used Australian media to make some quite bold statements about its Veloster N and i30 N hot hatch duo, saying it has closer suitability to the track than a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Then, Head of Hyundai’s N division, and former head of BMW’s M division, Albert Biermann, went even further, slamming the Golf GTI’s reliability under full load on track.
“There can be [Golf] GTIs that are suitable for the track driving, but if you take the standard GTI, it’s not like that,” Biermann told Australian journalists during the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. “It’s a great car, but after two laps the fun is over. I mean you know [this].” When asked what parts of the German hot hatch deteriorate, he simply said “everything.”
That spark was enough to start a real hot hatch war, as Volkswagen Australia’s managing director, Michael Bartsch, fired back talking to local media. He was slightly more delicate in his words, describing Biermann’s claims as untenable.
“Extraordinary claims are being made for supposed rivals that are not yet on sale,” Bartsch commented. “While any skunkworks can turn out a track day special, the expertise and experience required to engineer a GTI or an R – cars that also excel in the real world — is rather more hard won.”
After the first shots fired, we expect the verbal feud to continue in the coming months, until an independent part puts the two hatches against each other. However, it won’t be an accurate battle as, depending on the market, the most powerful Golf GTI has 220 horsepower (164 kilowatts) or 240 hp (180 kW), whereas the i30 N and Veloster N share the same 275 hp (205 kW) and 260 pound-feet (352 Newton-meters) 2.0-liter turbo engine. Maybe an i30 N versus Golf R is the duel we should be looking for.