N division will soon release the i30N – which can be seen in a Hyundai video and is the company's first hot hatch variant of a regular model. This car, despite its hot hatch status and a power output of more than 259bhp, will focus more on driver experience than the outright performance required to achieve the fastest recorded front-drive lap, according to a Hyundai spokesman.
Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai UK CEO, added: “It’s got to be a halo vehicle. Our brand has moved from being a budget brand to a mainstream one. What we now need to do is add personality. N is the brand to do it with and now is the right time to do it.”
The 'N' in the division's name stands for both Nürburgring and Namyang, Hyundai’s Korea-based centre for R&D. Hyundai’s i30N has been spotted testing at the famed German circuit many times during its development. It's unusual that a brand so intrinsically linked with the track is not attempting to set a headline-grabbing lap time there. However, the decision is more understandable for a fledgling performance brand.
The design of the car was previewed in Hyundai’s RN30 concept, which made its debut at the Paris motor show earlier this year, although its hardcore appearance previewed an even hotter model – a rival to the Ford Focus RS – which is on its way. The Focus RS chaser will be badged i30N Plus.
Such a model will be a likely competitor for the record although, like the Ford Focus RS, it will receive an all-wheel drive set-up, rather than the front-wheel drive layout required to take VW's lap record.