Can we prove that Hyundai’s new performance hatchback delivers a thrilling on-track driving experience? Cue the science…
22 May 2018

The Hyundai i30 N has been designed to deliver a driving experience that is engaging and fun on the road, and absolutely thrilling when you’ve got the no-holds-barred expanse of a race track to play with.

But what does that actually mean behind the wheel? Can we prove that the i30 N – which was declared a Game Changer in the 2018 Autocar Awards – delivers a driving experience that delights to the Nth degree? The only way to answer that is with a bit of science. Which is why we took the i30 N, a group of PistonHeads hot-hatch enthusiasts and a sports scientist to the tight, twisty Anglesey Circuit in North Wales. 

Our task: to measure the physiological effect of driving the i30 N, and explain how every press of the throttle excites body and mind – a case of finding out if RPM truly does raise BPM. The results were impressive. Our PistonHeaders’ heart-rates doubled – sometimes topping 160bpm – and their verdict on the i30 N was just as breathless.

To learn more about the Hyundai i30 N, head to:

Developed on the track

With a 2.0-litre turbo engine that delivers up to 275PS and 353Nm of torque, in-car adjustable Electronically Controlled Suspension, and an advanced Electronic Limited Slip Differential that was specially engineered by Hyundai for N Performance models, there’s lots of conversation-worthy tech under the i30 N’s eye-catchingly sleek skin.

On-track testing was key to the i30 N’s development. It was born at Namyang, Hyundai’s R&D facility in South Korea, and honed at the Nürbrurgring, with over 420 laps of the 13-mile Nordschleife – the equivalent of 110,000 miles of severe driving in just four weeks.

In 2016, the i30 N competed in the Nurburgring 24 Hours – one of the world’s toughest endurance races – and it has since gone on to win races in the 2017 TCR International Series and the TCR Trophy Europe. “From the first lap, the i30 N was easy to drive on the limit,” said Swiss touring car ace Alain Menu.

Delivering the fun factor

Inside the i30 N, there are lots of track-friendly features that add the fun factor. A five-LED shift indicator lets you know the best times to change gear, while the active variable exhaust on N Performance trims lets you experience the full range of crackles and pops from the twin-pipe exhaust. There’s even a track-focused launch control feature for optimum 0-60mph times.

Rev-matching helps ensure smoother, more efficient downshifts without the need to heel-and-toe, while all elements of the i30 N – including suspension stiffness, throttle response, stability control and steering weight – can be adjusted with five drive modes, ranging from Eco, Normal and Sport for on-road driving, to N and the fully customisable N Custom for the track.

All added together – and given the ultimate test by our PistonHeads hot hatch fans and a bit of human science – we’d like to think we’ve proved that the i30 N truly delivers fun to the Nth degree.

Our Verdict

Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai’s N performance brand opens for business and aims for hot hatch fame, starting with the i30

Join the debate


17 May 2018
My neighbour has bought one in this very clever. It looks rather nice in an understated way. Not dull like Golf but quite sharp and the sound scape is not bad for a 2L. He loves it so much we don't see him on foot any more.

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