A chicane is used in motorsports racing as a way to slow vehicles as well as challenge a vehicle’s turning ability. Chicanes are usually a tight left followed by a tight right or a tight right followed by a tight left. One of the most famous examples of a chicane is the Nouvelle Chicane at Circuit de Monaco. While some may think of a chicane as having the shape of the letter S, Hyundai wants you to think of a chicane as having the shape of the letter N. Regardless of what letter you choose, Hyundai has chosen the letter N to represent its high performance models. According to Hyundai, “the ‘N’ symbolizes a chicane, the essence of Hyundai Motor’s high-performance car development.”
This first vehicle to be badged with the letter N will be the 2018 i30 N. Designed at Hyundai’s Namyang R&D and honed on the Nurburgring, the first N represents a new era for Hyundai. While cars like the Genesis coupe and Veloster Turbo were sporty (the Genesis more so than the anemic Veloster) the N lineup will represent a clear performance badge similar to M or AMG.
At first glance things look promising. The i30 N will be powered by a 2.0 liter T-GDI turbo engine producing 275 PS and 353 Nm torque. That’s 272 hp and 260 lbft for us yanks. Power will be sent to the front wheels via a 6 speed manual transmission. Hyundai promises an electronic slip differential, electronic controlled suspension, rev matching, launch control, sticky rubber, and a lap timer. Connecting the driver’s hands to the road is rack-mounted motor-driven power steering. According to Hyundai the steering is very direct and offers high precision. The N will have five different drive modes that include N and N custom modes, as well as comfort configurations. Large air intakes with aggressive bumpers, 18 and 19 inch wheels, sport seats, dual exhaust, and a triangular brake light give this 5 door Hyundai the stuff it needs to take on the VW GTI and Ford Focus ST.
Albert Biermann, Executive Vice President Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division, says, “The Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package. With the high-performance N models we will enhance our brand’s appeal with emotional products that cater to the needs of people who love to have a smile on their face when they drive their car on a winding road and listen to the sound of the engine. That’s why we measure high-performance in BPM, heart beats per minute instead of only RPM.”
Hyundai will offer the i30 N in two packages, the Standard Package and the Performance Package. The standard package will be down about 20 hp compared to Performance Package vehicle. 0-60 times should be around 6.4 for the standard and 6.1 for the Performance.
If you are excited to get your hands on this first iteration of Hyundai’s N lineup, plan to move to Europe. As of now there is no word of the i30 N making its way to the US market.