Since the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is the company's first performance electric vehicle, it needs to go above and beyond to ensure an involving and playful driving experience á la the Elantra, Kona, and Veloster N. To wit, the 641-horsepower EV boasts two interesting features that enthusiasts will either call gimmicky or endearing, depending on their Luddite proclivities.
The first is called Torque Kick Drift. In a rear-drive car with a manual transmission, it’s possible to initiate a controlled slide by putting the clutch in mid-corner, holding the throttle steady, then releasing ("kicking") the clutch. The snap of the driveline will break the rear tires loose, and the driver can take advantage of the momentary traction loss by hammering down the throttle for a lurid slide or a Starsky-spec 180.
Gallery: 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N (US Spec)
However, since EVs famously lack manual transmissions – Toyota’s fun and funky electric gear shift notwithstanding – the folks at Hyundai explained how the Ioniq 5 N simulates the action using the steering wheel paddles. To initiate a drift, you pull both paddles simultaneously, which cuts power to the rear axle and turns the hatch into a front-driver for a moment. Then, when it’s time to drift, the person behind the wheel releases both paddles as a rush of torque hits the rear motor. That’s in addition to the simulated eight-speed dual-clutch function offered by the paddles.
The second is simulated engine noise, which I already observed at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed. By using two external and eight internal speakers, the Ioniq 5 N features one of three propulsion noises, which imitate an N-traditional turbocharged four-cylidner, a futuristic whir inspired by the RM22e experimental car, or a whooshing noise cribbed from a twin-engine supersonic jet. I heard the first mode, which boasted a lopey “idle” and snarling acceleration nosies that indeed called the hilarious Elantra N to mind.
Inspiring emotions through the use of software might make some car enthusiasts uncomfortable. After all, there’s no denying the enjoyment that comes from a good ol’ fashioned, stick-shifted sporty car. But it’s also nice to see that technology can be used for hooning – most EVs are pretty quick, but they can also be a little soulless. I doubt anyone drifting to the soundtrack of a Tron Lightcycle could make that claim about the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N. I can’t wait to find out for myself.