In addition to the 5-door, break and Fastback, here is the most turbulent element of the i30 family: the N Performance Pack and its 275 horses. It allows Hyundai to enter brilliantly in the segment of supercharged compact.
In the past, Hyundai had not yet shown itself with particularly sporty models but things began to evolve in 2015. That’s when the brand created the department N by propelling Albert Biermann to his head.
Transferred from the M department of BMW, this engineer has to his credit some legendary models (M3 E30 Group A, M3 E46, M5 E39 etc.). He brought all his science to the South Korean brand as well as his sister brand Kia with the Optima GT and Stinger. After a few concepts and teasers, the first model N is finally presented at the end of 2017 and the i30 N now travels the roads.
His name, the Hyundai i30 N owes it to both the Nürburgring circuit that is no longer present but also to Namyang where is the center Research & Development Hyundai. The link between South Korea and Europe is thus underlined, as is the palate for bends, which is reflected in the N logo. Fortunately, this logo is not the only distinguishing feature of the grille. the i30 N.
Without doing too much, she announces that there will be sport before even starting. Here we find the Cascading grille incorporating the N logo but the shields are reviewed and the LED light signature goes horizontally. In profile, there are rocker panels flanked by the N logo but also large 19-inch wheels with red brake calipers.
The rear is not left with the presence of a fin, a redesigned shield, aerodynamic profiles on the corner of the wings and a double exhaust. Specific colors are also available in the image of Performance Blue often seen on the presentation images as well as the i20 WRC and the Rouge Engine, a rarity, which dresses our test model.
After going around the car, let’s enter his cabin to discover his specificities. An exercise quickly made because the differences compared to a classic model are rather tenuous: a small gear lever, an aluminum pedal, sports seats and a leather steering wheel adorned with two little blue magic buttons.
Let’s stop the suspense, it’s time to finally start the engine! We start the festivities with the Normal mode that can be selected via one of the two buttons mentioned at the wheel.
And already, pleasant notes reach the driver since the escape. Not enough to shake the neighborhood fortunately but we already feel the sporty nature of the i30 N as you can find in our small video.
From the first meters traveled, we perceive the potential of the machine. The transmission that has not given way to the automation is controlled manually by a shifter with relatively short deflections.
Easy to handle but the clutch will need to be careful to avoid stalling. A function called “Rev Matching” simulates a heel tip to adjust the engine speed when downshifting, which is therefore associated with a gas stroke.
Function that can be controlled via a specific button on the steering wheel. Power-assisted power steering is also immediately very direct and feels well supported and maintained laterally in sports seats that are not uncomfortable. As for the suspension, it is directly firm but not (too) uncomfortable … for now.
Pressing the magic button on the right of the steering wheel switches to driving mode “N”. Contrary to what is sometimes found on certain cars, the difference between the modes of driving is here very sensitive.
The suspension thus becomes firmer to the point of passing all the asperities of the road directly into the spine. The direction is even more direct for more precision, the parameters of the engine are also adjusted as well as those of the electronic stability control ESC, the limited-slip electronic differential E-LSD or those of the function “Rev Matching” .
As for the sound, it becomes even more brutal as you will hear in our video. The exhaust is directly present at the start and the gear changes are punctuated by large detonations that are delighted and participate largely in driving pleasure. By activating the Custom mode, it is still possible to customize not less than seven chassis and transmission parameters according to one’s own tastes.