Built for exhilarating driving pleasure in an agile and affordable package – the i30 N is Hyundai’s latest flagship hot hatchback, built for cornering, race track capability and everyday sports car usage. Competing with the Volkswagen GTI, the i30 N has some fierce competition, but appears vigorous enough to handle its rival. Hyundai’s N division is promising high responsiveness and linear power output, and is marketing this car towards the young and enthusiastic driver, hoping to become the ultimate driver’s car for this segment.

The i30 N packs quite a punch for such a small car: it has 247 horsepower, which can be amped up to 271 with an additional performance package. The engine is a four-cylinder 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo that delivers 353Nm torque. The drivetrain is front wheel drive, and has a six-speed manual gearbox capable of rev-matching. To belittle any soundtrack your speakers could play, the car also has a variable exhaust valve system – a feature that comes along with the performance package. Also included in this performance upgrade is an electronic limited-slip differential and 19-inch performance tires (18-inch come as standard). In both versions of the i30 N the driver can choose to optimise his ride preferences through five different drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport N, and N Custom.

The standard i30 N does the 0-100 km/h dash in a mere 6.4 seconds before attaining a top speed of 250 km/h. Upgrading to the performance package reduces the 0-100 km/h time by three tenths of a second to 6.1, though top speed remains at the electronically limited maximum of 250 km/h. Launch control is a much-welcomed feature in this car, and can be selected on the digital dashboard. This all goes in accordance with Hyundai’s mission: “the Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers.”

The design of the i30 N is minimalistic in comparison to other hot hatchbacks in its segment. In comparison to the likes of the Subaru WRX STI, Ford Focus RS, and especially the Honda Civic Type R, the i30 N is a rather modest looking machine. The minimalism may not be apartment in performance, but appears besides the design, also in the price. Executive VP Albert Biermann said the N-division is looking to undercut rivals with “an accessible high-performance package”. Adding that “everybody is chasing the Golf, so we will join this game and see how it goes.”

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