For an automaker that has among the shortest product life cycles in the business, it seems strange that Hyundai is working on a second facelift for the i30 N. The South Korean brand usually makes significant modifications when a facelifted version is released, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Spies caught a camouflaged prototype testing near the Nürburgring while hiding minor changes compared to the updated hot hatch launched in 2020.
Unless the camouflage is playing tricks on us, the test vehicle had the same revised headlights and taillights launched with the first facelift for the i30 N. We are noticing some novelties at the front where the bumper has been redesigned to accommodate vertical air intakes. The honeycomb pattern of the front grille seems a smidge different as well, but nothing to write home about. The area surrounding the lower intake appears mildly revised, too.
A closer look at the side profile shows Hyundai hid the "N" logo on the red brake calipers at the front axle in a failed attempt to hide the car's identity. There are red accents on what seem to be chunkier side skirts with an "N" badge seemingly hiding under black tape ahead of the rear wheels. At the back, the bumper hasn't been changed, unless the disguise is hiding some minor tweaks. For what it's worth, the horizontal red reflectors are in the same spot.
The third-generation i30 is getting a bit long in the tooth considering it was originally unveiled in October 2016 at the Paris Motor Show before getting a nip and tuck in 2020. If Hyundai does intend to give the compact hatchback a second facelift, it means the car will remain on sale for at least 2-3 years. A next-generation model has already been confirmed with gasoline engines as the company remains committed to small cars. The A-segment i10 and the subcompact i20 will also continue.
While the regular i30 will soldier on, we can't say the same thing about its N version. Late last year, Hyundai's Executive Technical Advisor Albert Biermann said a next-gen i30 N is unlikely to happen because of stricter emissions regulations. However, the mechanically related Elantra N will be renewed since the performance sedan is sold outside of the European Union. Depending on the market, the spicy saloon also goes by the name of i30 N Sedan or Avante N.
The i20 N will continue because it uses a smaller turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine compared to the i30 N's 2.0-liter mill. Albert Biermann has suggested an indirect replacement to the i30 N will one day come in the shape of an electric hot hatch. In the meantime, Hyundai unveiled this week its first N-branded EV by showing the Ioniq 5 N at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
It's unclear when this updated i30 N will be revealed, although it could happen as early as September at the IAA Munich in Germany. Time will tell whether this is indeed a second facelift or a special edition of some sort.