To come from nowhere and burst into a field of very senior and very experienced competitors is daunting. To actually better them would be a miracle. Can the new Hyundai i30 N take on the established rivals? And does it have a chance at taking them down? We’re here at the official Australian launch to find out.
Some quick background; the i30 N is Hyundai’s first proper attempt at a hot hatch. It’s also the company’s first sports car developed by its new sub-brand called N Performance. Chief of the division is former BMW M boss Albert Biermann – the N name probably has some spiritual connection there. Development hubs are set up in Namyang, Korea, as well as at the Nurburgring in Germany, hence the letter ‘N’.
The hot i30 steps into the market at the $40k sweet spot, starting from $39,990. For that sort of money you can get yourself a Subaru WRX, a Toyota 86, or the smaller Renault Clio R.S. and Peugeot 208 GTi, give or take a couple of grand. We all know the main target here though, and it starts with a V and also has a W in it, as well as the letters G, T and I.
Despite trumping the Vee-Dub Golf GTI for outright power – the i30’s 202kW capsizing the GTI’s 169kW – Hyundai says it has not developed the i30 N to be the quickest and most serious hot hatch on the market. Instead, it wants it to be one of the most fun to drive. So let’s dive in and take a look.
2018 Hyundai i30 N – THE SPECS
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder
Output: 202kW@6000rpm / 353Nm@1450-4700rpm (378Nm on overboost)
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Drive type: Front-wheel drive, LSD
Wheels: F & R: 19×8.0, 235/35
ANCAP: Regular i30 five stars (N model unrated)
Tare weight: 1478kg
Power-to-weight: 7.31:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 8.0L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 50L/95 RON
Priced from: $39,990
* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different