Currently reading: Hyundai RN30 concept previews four-wheel-drive Ford Focus RS rival
Revealed at the Paris motor show, the 375bhp RN30 previews a hardcore i30N Plus production model, due next year

This is the Hyundai RN30 concept - a 375bhp preview of a new performance-focused i30N Plus model that'll rival the likes of the Ford Focus RS.

Revealed at the Paris motor show alongside the 2017 i20 WRC, the hot hatch concept has been developed as a collaboration between Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center and the manufacturer’s Performance Development & High Performance Division. The result is an aggressive, aerodynamic design that promises a sporty drive at a level we’ve not yet seen from Hyundai.

We've driven an i30N prototype - read it here

The RN30, when it emerges in production form, will bear the name i30N Plus, sitting above the regular i30N. Hyundai has been hyping up its N performance brand for a couple of years now, through various concept cars, and the RN30 gives us our best look yet at what we’ll be able to buy next year.

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Power in the RN30 comes from Hyundai’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, developed specifically for N production models by enlarging the turbo and using forged rather than cast components. It pushes out 375bhp and 333lb ft, sent to an all-wheel drive system through a wet-type dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Performance technology includes rev matching to smooth out spirited driving, and an Electronic Variable Exhaust system that gets louder under hard acceleration. An electronic limited-slip differential is designed to send sufficient torque to each wheel when cornering.

The styling of the RN30 takes the silhouette of the i30 but lowers it dramatically and widens it for extra stability when cornering. It sits 84mm lower than the standard i30 and is 30mm wider. The wheel arches, which Hyundai calls floating fenders, and the front splitter and sideskirts are clearly motorsport-influenced and work to improve aerodynamic downforce. A rear spoiler is designed to keep the rear axle planted at speed and a large rear diffuser sits above twin centrally mounted exhaust pipes, finished in white ceramic. A roof-mounted fin runs down the centre of the car to the spoiler, and the bonnet has a vent fitted for added visual drama. The car rides on 19in lightweight alloy wheels and sports Hyundai’s latest 'cascading' grille and some distinctive headlights with LED daytime running lights.

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Hyundai has looked to keep the weight of the RN30 low, but has eschewed carbonfibre in favour of plastic materials developed in collaboration with chemical firm BASF. Hyundai says this has produced a light, durable and environmentally friendly substance that’s used throughout the car.

The interior is stripped out, with components placed as low as possible in the car to keep the centre of gravity down. A bucket seat, mounted low, sits within an integrated roll cage designed both for safety and to increase the RN30’s body strength. Gimbal cameras are mounted on each A-pillar to capture driving heroics, and there’s another camera on the roof fin.

Strip away some of the concept car flashiness and this is essentially what the i30N Plus will look like when it’s revealed next year. It'll come as a more focused version of the i30N.

The i30N will go up against the Ford Focus ST. Developed in South Korea and tested at the Nürburgring in Germany, the hot model will be Hyundai’s first proper foray into performance hot hatches. 

Phill Tromans

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jason_recliner 29 September 2016

For real?

If the I30 N looks even remotely like this it will be the first Korean car I have ever truly desired.