What is it?
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N is proof that its Korean maker doesn’t intend to hang around with the roll-out of its new breed of performance models. It’s only eighteen months since the launch of the i30 N hatchback and now, having already introduced the Veloster N in markets other than ours, the firm is piling in with model instalment number three.
And these are early days, you might think, for i30 N hatchback buyers to be trading in their cars. But, from an engineering perspective at the very least, working so quickly probably is a smart move. Hyundai uses a great many proprietary components for these cars, after all, and it stands to reason that the more development opportunities they can lever into a short space of time for the various driveline, suspension, steering and electronic governance systems in the N-brand armoury, the more quickly those systems – and the cars they’re attached to – should improve.
Welcome, then, to 'Hyundai N-car v3.0'. Based on the elongated 'coupe-like' i30 Fastback introduced to the UK late last year, the i30 Fastback N uses the same 2.0-litre turbocharged ‘Theta’ petrol engine as the upper-level ‘Performance Package’ version of the hatchback N, as well as the same rack-mounted electric power steering system, adaptive dampers, electronically locking front differential and active exhaust.
But thereafter the Fastback N differs from its sibling with the software tuning of those various electronically controlled systems, and in a few finer suspension details: rear axle wheel geometry, front axle rebound spring calibration, anti-roll bar bushing and bumpstop stiffness. Perhaps most tellingly of all, the i30 N hatchback’s front suspension has been softened off slightly for this car, in terms of both vertical and lateral stiffness, with the aim of creating a more rounded, sophisticated performance character.