By on July 13, 2017

hyundai i30 n

After four years of development, Hyundai is ushering a new entry into the hot hatchback category with its i30 N. Based on the newest incarnation of the family friendly i30, known throughout North America as the Elantra GT, the N badge separates it as a serious performance model. Hyundai appears to be taking direct aim at the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI, both through the N’s performance and styling — which seems to be a handsome amalgamation of the pair.

Available in two trims, the base model i30 N provides 246 horsepower while the performance package quipped version bumps that number up to 271 hp. Both use a turbocharged 2.0-liter and six-speed manual transmission and, according to Hyundai, can manage 0-60 times in the low six-second range. Power is sent to the front tires and only to the front tires, with an electronic limited slip differential to keep things manageable in the corners.

It’s a legitimate hot hatch and Hyundai’s first if you discount the Veloster — which you definitely may.  

hyundai i30 n

Hyundai seems proud of the technical aspects of the i30 N but claims it wants to focus on a fun car more than anything else. It’s a recipe it hopes to replicate on more models in the future. “The Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package,” explained Albert Biermann, executive vice president of the brand’s performance group. “With the high-performance N models we will enhance our brand’s appeal with emotional products that cater to the needs of people who love to have a smile on their face when they drive their car on a winding road and listen to the sound of the engine.”

The automaker exerted some extra effort on the i30’s variable exhaust valve system’s sound and filled the interior with things like track timers and g-force meters — wholly unnecessary but welcome in something that is supposed to evoke a sensation of sportiness.

hyundai i30 n

There are five selectable driving modes, including Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. The settings adjust the ferocity of the engine, stability control, electronic differential, steering input, enhanced exhaust sounds, the rev matching. Hyundai also wanted to be clear that stability control could be shut off completely for those interested in “maximum freedom.”

It also comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless charging pad for phones. Hyundai also saw fit to toss in a seven-year subscription to Hyundai LIVE — making weather and navigation easily accessible through the car’s 8-inch touchscreen. Safety assists like autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping, and traffic sign recognition are also standard on the i30 N.

hyundai i30 n

The interior receives elements not found on any other Hyundai. There is a model-specific steering wheel, gearshift knob, high-bolstered sport seats and loads of N logos.

Why exactly Hyundai chose to use the N as a performance demarkation is a bit of a mystery. The automaker claims its shape resembles a chicane and the i30 was tested relentlessly at the Nürburgring circuit, but were (wisely) unwilling to call it a “Nürburgring Edition.” In truth, the brand probably just needed something to that would easily differentiate its performance models and couldn’t call them Type Rs for obvious legal reasons.

Slated to arrive in Europe by the end of 2017, the i30 N’s future in North America is unknown. Hyundai doesn’t appear to have any plans for this continent, where the model would undoubtedly carry an Elantra GT moniker, but hinted that another N car would eventually make an appearance. Based upon some earlier hinting, our best guess is that it’ll be the Veloster — which would only benefit from some beefed-up internals.

hyundai i30 n

[Images: Hyundai]

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25 Comments on “Hyundai Delivers a Hotter Hatchback With the i30 N...”


  • avatar
    caltemus

    I really hope they do an N car that isn’t the Veloster. It’s such a impractical car for what it is, and the visibility sucks. Frankly in 2017 there’s not a single thing it does better than the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      aquaticko

      There is a 2nd generation Veloster coming, and I’ve read that it’s supposed to have a true IRS, as opposed to the torsion beam that the current one uses. Frankly, I think they should build both this “Elantra GT” N and Veloster N. Major overlap between the two, maybe even sheer redundancy, but the more sporting models Hyundai offer, an sooner, the more believable this drive for drivers’ cars will be.

      Also, Mr. Matt Posky, the “N” is for Nurburgring, yes, but also Namyang–the site of Hyundai’s major South Korean R&D site in the city of Hwaseong, about an hour or so south of Seoul.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        So Hyundai says but I’m highly suspicious. I think they just needed an R, X, Z, M, or F, and had to find a way to rationalize the N. That said, it’s my only minor gripe about the i30 N and largely irrelevant. It doesn’t have to mean anything. I’m genuinely interested in this car and would much prefer it the hypothetical next-gen Veloster.

        Didn’t Namyang change it’s name to something else because there is a North Korean town, infamous for work camps, using the same moniker?

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The new Veloster is built off the i30 platform so things should be much improved even before getting the special suspension bits for the N-variant.

          Hyundai has all but confirmed an N-variant of the Tucson and there have been rumors of doing an N-version of the i30 fastback as well.

          Hyundai’s R&D and test track in SK is still in Namyang.

        • 0 avatar
          aquaticko

          All I could find on Wikipedia is that there is a Namyang Worker’s District on the border with China. By contrast, there is, in fact, a Hwaseong concentration camp. That having been said, the “Hwa” in each Hwaseong’s name is apparently a different Hanja (the Korean name for Chinese characters), and so the names mean different things, even though they’re homophones and even most Koreans probably wouldn’t know the difference. Trivia, anyway.

          But yes, I too am excited to see how good these “N” cars are. Hyundai’s been building cars for long enough, and has enough technical expertise and money at this point, that they could easily build something really interesting and exceptional. They only need to actually DO that, as opposed to building good, but essentially white-goods kinds of cars.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    Why N? Because it’s one more than ///M. With the greenhouse of a Macan, the grill of an Audi, and the rear of a Golf, it’s already pretty much a derivative of a German car. Just one whose window regulators you can expect to still work after 5-10 years.

    It’s cute, but has all the problems of a 2017 car – poor visibility out the back, oversized wheels (I guess it’s ok for a performance variant though), ugly squinty headlights, way too many gadgets, and overweight for its size.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I hate oversized wheels. They are maintenance nightmare. Manufacturers should offer them as optional dealer-installed package.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      It’s made in the Czech Republic, so it’s an honorary German car, at least.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      “N” refers to Namyang (main R&D and test track in Korea) and to Nürburgring (where Hyundai also has an R&D/testing center).

      Also, Hyundai was doing the hexagonal grille shape way before Audi (or for that matter, Subaru, Datsun, Toyota, etc.).

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    An N Elantra Sport would be nice too. The extra 50hp would be welcome.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Golf, Golf, Golf! I’m looking for a good time.
    Golf, Golf, Golf! Get ready for my love.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I appreciate the clean and understated look. No garish wings or harsh faux-carbon fiber treatments, fake diffusers, etc. It’s simple and handsome.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Not getting the hate, this is a handsome little hatch. I don’t feel the wheels. Definitely worthy of a look if I was in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      yeah its ok. The wheels are that asian try hard.

      But I’m guessing the price pushes it into the basic WRX so…

      Also where’s the dual clutch? Manual only (so far) is an issue.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I like it…not sure why they would build two versionas, one with 30 more HP…seems counter productive…

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Extra Profit for bragging rights. Same thing VW and all the German luxury brands do (S package on AMGs, performance package on Audi RSs etc). Same engine, slightly more tuned (or not as detuned) for generally too much money but lots of people pay up.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Love it other than the red exterior accents and the fact it’s manual only. There should be a law somewhere that all non-electrified cars must offer both an automatic and manual, something for everyone.

    Also I’m ok with Hondas or Mazdas being manual-only since those manufacturers are known for their prowess in that area. Hyundai is not.

  • avatar
    Matzel

    *LOVE* the i30N! And love the fact that it’s offered with a manual tranny.

    But why not bring it to North America? I would certainly consider buying this but never look at the Veloster because it’s impractical.


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