The firmest suspension mode is a little too unyielding for a bumpy track like the Nurburgring. The car tends to bounce and skip around, but even so there are occasions when the body squirms and fidgets around, the suspension not quite able to keep the vertical forces in check. The car feels tough and sometimes harsh in that damper setting, but body control still isn’t completely iron-fisted. That, more than anything else, is what distinguishes the i30 Fastback N from the hatchback model on circuit. We’re talking margins, though.
The heftiest steering mode is slightly too weighty, but the medium setting is very well judged. You get a good idea of how hard you’re working the front tyres and the rate of steering response is entirely intuitive. The limited slip differential, meanwhile, is effective without making the front end so nervous and darty that you wish it wasn’t there.
Instead, you just get very good traction and a sweet sense of the car being hauled out of corners the moment you open the throttle.
Elsewhere, the gearshift is quick and direct, although the pedals could be better spaced for heel-and-toe shifts - there is a very good rev match function, however - and the engine is strong without ever feeling rampantly powerful the way a Honda Civic Type R’s motor can do. A pity, though, that the Hyundai’s 271bhp lump is a little flat and lacking in energy. At least throttle response is sharp.
We will have to wait until we drive the car in the UK to say for certain, but it wouldn’t be at all unreasonable to expect the slightly more compliant i30 Fastback N to be better suited to our bumpy, potholed roads. A consequence of making this model more comfortable might yet be that it’s actually more fun to drive than the tightly-wound i30N hatchback on our craggy tarmac.
Initial impressions of the i30 Fastback N
If the i30 Fastback N is as good-looking as the people who are paid to say nice things about it tell us it is, it could well be the quick i30 of choice. It’s a unique concept, too; a supposedly stylish four-door coupe with genuine hot hatch performance and dynamics, at an affordable price point (there is no confirmed price, although it will be very similar to the that of the i30N hatchback).
There is plenty of promise here and Hyundai’s N performance division is coming along very nicely indeed. We will see further high performance Hyundais in the coming years, although not exactly a flurry of them, and a little later on there will even be a purpose-built Hyundai N halo car. For now, that is all we’re being told.