What is it?
This is the new Hyundai i30 N Line. Think of it as a sort of mash-up of the South Korean manufacturer’s rather exciting i30 N hot hatchback and the not-so-exciting standard car that a member of the village bowls club might be inclined to buy.
It’s a formula we’re becoming increasingly familiar with in the car world. Take the name of nearly any manufacturer’s more hardcore performance division, slap 'line' on as a suffix and, voilà, you have a new model that looks fast, but isn’t really. Ford’s done it with its ST-Line models, Volkswagen’s got R-line and, at the other end of the spectrum, Mercedes has AMG Line. With N Line, Hyundai is vying for a slice of that same action.
So, these changes, then. Unsurprisingly, they’re pretty much all aesthetic. The front and rear bumpers ape those you’ll find on the i30 N, there are natty-looking 18in alloy wheels shod in 225/40 section Michelin Pilot PS4 rubber, a twin exhaust and, of course, plenty of N Line badging. In the cabin, you’ll find new sports seats, as well as an N Line gearlever and steering wheel.
As for the actual mechanics, there’s not a huge amount that’s new. At the nose sits the same 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol motor you’ll find in non-N Line i30 S, which sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual 'box as standard, or a seven-speed DCT for those who don’t fancy swapping cogs themselves.
That engine develops 138bhp at 6000rpm, while its 179lb ft of torque is available from 1500rpm. MacPherson struts comprise the front suspension, while at the rear there’s a multi-link arrangement. The N Line model’s dampers have been firmed up, but Hyundai’s product man couldn’t specify an exact percentage. The brakes have been tweaked, too.