What is it?
The i30N is the first hot hatch from a marque with a full works entry in the World Rally Championship, and therefore something to be taken very seriously indeed. That Hyundai’s aim has been to cram in as much performance for the least possible cost to buyers should also have your ears pricked up.
Why now? Well, the brand is on something of a roll, recording an 87% increase in European sales in the past five years. To build on that success and translate rally podiums into profit, it’s now launching a performance arm – N.
Enter Albert Biermann, long-time boss of BMW’s performance arm – M. He’s the type of man who expects the ‘ESC off’ button in a car to actually mean ‘off’ (in the i30N, it does) and yet recognises that, in 2017, a five-door hot hatch needs to be usable to be a hit in showrooms. This machine is very much his baby and the German’s presence is a major reason for optimism about its ability to entertain.
The fundamental i30N package is nothing out of the ordinary – it’s a five-door hatch with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine driving the front wheels. What is rather unusual is the level of hardware on offer for modest outlay, with the £24,995 base model getting 247bhp, an electronic limited-slip differential and three-way adaptive suspension. An optional Performance Package sees those figures increase to £27,995 and 271bhp.