A hot version of the Hyundai i30 has been spied testing near the Nurburgring race track in Germany. It’ll be the first in a line of hotter Hyundai performance cars from the company’s new ‘N’ sub-brand, which could later spawn spicy i20 and i20 Coupe variants.
Details on Hyundai’s new halo model are scarce at the moment as the car is strictly a “work in progress” project, but our pictures clearly show the hot i30 is deep in development testing.
The car looks to have a larger bodykit and bigger alloy wheels pinched from a Kia Pro Cee’d GT, while at the rear there’s room for a bigger exhaust. It could use a tweaked version of the i30 Turbo’s 184bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and will feature stiffened suspension – but whatever engine Hyundai decides to fit under the i30 N’s bonnet, it’ll certainly pack more power to take on current hot hatch heavyweights.
A spokesperson told us that the Hyundai i30 N will be built in relatively small numbers, and will be “comparable” to competitor cars in the C-segment hot hatch market. Whether that means an out-and-out racer like the Ford Focus RS, or a more usable every day car like the ST, remains to be seen.
The i30 will be the first to receive the N treatment with other small cars from Hyundai’s model line-up such as the i20 and i20 Coupe also likely to benefit from the makeover over the coming years. But it won’t be as simple as making rally cars for the road, with Hyundai insisting the N performance sub-brand will not launch until they’re “completely happy”.
Since hiring former BMW M boss Albert Bierman last year, Hyundai’s focus has been on creating a series of halo products to attract buyers to lesser models in the range.
We expect the i30 N to sit one wrung above the current i30 Turbo rather than replacing it when it launches around 2017.
Do you think Hyundai’s hot i30 N will be able to mix it with the hot hatch big guns? Let us know!