HYUNDAI’S new performance car boss, Albert Biermann, has opened up the future of the brand’s N-Division and dropped some tasty hints about its first model, the i30 N.
For a start, it’s a definite goer. The i30N will be launched next year as the first model from Hyundai’s new performance sub-brand. Although Biermann didn’t tell us much in the way of specs, we can tell you that the car will be based on the next-gen Hyundai i30 and has been built alongside it, is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four and that at least some versions will have an electronically controlled limited slip differential and electronically controlled adaptive dampers. It will be launched with a manual gearbox – the brand raced a prototype car at the Nurburgring 24 Hour last weekend with a ’stick – but Biermann also confirmed that an automatic option is under development, almost certainly a twin-clutcher.
Although aimed primarily at the European market, the i30N will be the first of a staggered series of product debuts that Biermann says will prove the scope of N’s ambitions, with two other models set to follow it shortly afterwards which we believe will share the same core powertrain.
There are no numbers on the turbo donk, but Hyundai showed us a video of it being dyno tested with numbers going up to 264PS (197kW), which we’re taking to be a minimum. Biermann also showed us the underside of the prototype, although we weren’t allowed to take pictures of it, showing that it has both beefed-up suspension and also some structural reinforcement pieces. “We are very serious about this, it is not just about the output,” he said, adding later that “if you look at the data our car will not look like the winner [compared to rivals], but when you drive it you will feel how serious we are.”
Final specification of the hatchback is still being decided, but Biermann said that it is likely to be offered as both a standard and a “plus” model with the enhanced version likely to get more power, bigger brakes and the electronically controlled limited slip differential that the company has developed internally. There’s also a chance the differential will be standard on all versions, but the emphasis is to make sure that lead-in pricing is competitive against rivals. The prototype has switchable electronically controlled active dampers with four different settings, and Biermann said he thinks it is likely that these will be offered as standard as he is keen to offer a car with “maximum bandwidth.”
We’ll find out more closer to the N’s launch next year.