The Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI should be worried.
In an automotive world bombarded with crossovers and SUVs, it’s refreshing to see a new hot hatch. Hyundai is preparing to extend its N portfolio of performance cars with the addition of a feisty supermini positioned above the all-show-without-the-go i20 N Line revealed last month. Ahead of an official reveal expected to take place in the coming weeks, the South Korean company has dropped a couple of teasers to ease the wait.
We can already observe the styling is far more aggressive compared to the aforementioned N Line model, with larger air intakes and a prominent front splitter. In addition, the full-fat i20 N has chunkier side skirts and enlarged N-branded brakes, while the rear hosts a roof-mounted spoiler and the larger exhaust tips we saw in spy shots.
The i20 N will also sit closer to the road than any other version of the subcompact hatchback and will ride on a unique set of 18-inch wheels reserved for the range topper. Rounding off the exterior tweaks will be the two-tone finish with a main Performance Blue paint contrasted by the Phantom Black roof. A pair of body-hugging seats will be the most important change on the inside where there’s likely going to be a sportier steering wheel and other similar upgrades.
Needless to say, the real magic will be underneath the hood. While Hyundai only says the i20 N will have a turbocharged engine, some publications had the chance to drive prototypes and discover the oily bits. The heart and soul of the small sporty hatch will be a 1.6-liter gasoline engine producing 201 horsepower and 203 pound-feet (275 Newton-meters) of torque.
The smallest of the N models will be offered only with a six-speed manual transmission working together with a limited-slip differential offered as standard or optional, depending on the market. Tipping the scales at just under 1,200 kilograms (2,645 pounds), the i20 N will hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 6.7 seconds and top out at a respectable 143 mph (230 km/h).
New for a Euro-spec Hyundai, the punchy four-pot is said to have little turbo lag and offer the full horsepower at an estimated 6,000 rpm. Torque kicks in at around 2,000 rpm and that do-it-yourself transmission offers silky smooth gear changes. When you need to stop, the 320-mm front discs will do the heavy lifting.
In regards to suspension, the i20 N has a reinforced MacPherson strut setup at the front axle and a beefier torsion beam rear arrangement. Behind the seats, a removable low brace akin to what you’ll find on the larger i30 N runs across the wheel arches.
The Hyundai i20 N will go on sale in Europe next spring and will rival the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI.