IT WILL be the hottest hatch Korea has ever created, but the Hyundai i30 N will do more for Hyundai’s image in Australia than its sales.
“Thirty years of experience tells me that you’re not going to sell a shitload of those things,” says Scott Grant. “I don’t think pure volume is the purpose of that sort of product,” adds Hyundai Australia’s straight-talking chief operating officer.
Grant’s pessimism is surprising. His comments came after Wheels (and other Australian media) learned the i30 N will have drivetrains to rival or beat Europe’s best.
The five-door front-driver’s turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine will produce 184kW in base form… and 202kW in high-performance "P Package" specification. These are numbers that make the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST look like weaklings.
While the i30 N will go into production at a factory in the Czech Republic in December this year with a six-speed manual, Hyundai aims to also offer an eight-speed dual-clutch auto in the car from September 2019.
The i30 N will come with all the trappings expected in an A Grade hot hatch. Wheels can confirm the Hyundai will come with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and 19-inch wheels wearing Pirelli P-Zero rubber.
Its exhaust system will have valve to uncork its muffler for maximum aural drama, while the instrument cluster will feature a driver-adjustable shift light.
Deeply bolstered front seats, an N-specific steering wheel with a pair of Porsche-like driving mode dials, and a leather-wrapped shifter knob will differentiate the N’s interior from lesser Hyundai i30 models. Outside, the i30 N will come with its own grille, rear diffuser and side sills to set it apart.
The new i30 hatch is the best-looking small car Hyundai has ever made in its 50-year history, and the N model is beginning to look like Korea’s first truly lust-worthy car…