Determined to get its money’s worth out of its latest launch event, Hyundai has simultaneously unveiled not one but two all new models in the shape of the 271bhp i30N hot hatch, and its swoopier i30 Fastback sister car.
Both are treading new ground for the South Korean brand, with the former becoming the first of the Albert Biermann-led N performance derivatives and the latter a niche-busting five-door compact-hatchback-cum-coupe.
They will both appear at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. Here’s our preview guide to this autumn’s biggest car show
Let’s start with the i30N
We’ve already had an early drive in a heavily-disguised Hyundai i30N test mule, but these are the first official pics of the South Korean brand’s all-new Golf GTI-rivalling hot-hatch.
With the covers off we can see predictably more aggressive styling, complete with 18-inch – optional 19s can be specced – N-badged alloy wheels (clad in Pirelli P-Zero rubber), red brake callipers and inserts, front splitter and side air inlets, plus a boisterous-looking rear wing.
This look is carried on inside the car, too, with a sports steering wheel and seats, N Performance logos aplenty and an LED rev-counter – just like on a rally car…
Will the i30N go like a rally car, though?
It certainly seemed up there with the Golf GTI for outright pace on our early drive – no real surprise thanks to a 271bhp 2.0-litre (247bhp without the optional Performance Package) turbocharged engine sending 260lb ft of torque through the front wheels.
That’s enough for a distinctly un-i30-like top speed of 155mph and a 0-62mph time – providing you can change up through the six-speed manual gearbox fast enough – of just 6.1 seconds with the launch control activated (6.4 seconds in the 248bhp variant).
Launch control, you say?
Yep, available only in N mode with the electronic stability control switched off, Hyundai promises that the i30N’s launch control system will help customers pull away like a ‘professional race driver’. Handy should a pesky Golf GTI pull up next to you at the lights.
There’s more, too. The i30N also boasts a BMW M2-style rev-matching function, adaptive dampers and an electronic limited slip differential (E-LSD) on Performance Package cars. Such gadgetry should ensure stable, responsive cornering at all times giving drivers the confidence to plant the accelerator mid-way through a bend and let the E-LSD sort out the rest.
To make sure the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine sings there’s also an optional variable exhaust valve system which can vary the amount of sound emitted from the twin tailpipes. And, if that’s not enough, there’s also an electronic sound generator to really amp up noise levels within the car.
Harnessing all this tech is a five-mode drive select system, consisting of Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom settings. Those in the driver’s seat can toggle between various set-ups using steering wheel mounted buttons, with a dedicated N mode button located on the right-hand side.
Crucially, customers can also select individual settings should they – for example – want to combine maximum exhaust noise with light steering and soft suspension.
And what about the i30 Fastback?
Fancy an A3 Saloon or a Mercedes CLA but can’t quite make the numbers work? The i30 Fastback could be your answer. Longer, lower and 15% stiffer than the conventional i30, it promises to be an altogether svelter and sportier version of Hyundai’s already sweet-driving hatchback.
Honed at the Nurburgring, we can’t help but think it would make an excellent addition to Hyundai’s burgeoning N performance line-up – and we’re not the only ones…
Hyundai i30N Fastback
Following on from the unveil of the i30N, an even more extreme i30N Fastback is thought to be in the works an upgraded 300bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine reportedly set for production.
Until then, however, customers will have to make do with the two regular petrol engines on offer. Consisting of an 118bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 138bhp 1.4-litre four-cylinder, performance figures are yet to be confirmed for either, but expect them to be similar to those on a regular i30 hatchback.
Although no diesel engines will be offered from launch, company insiders suggest that a 134bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine could be in the works, although no announcement on this is expected until the end of 2017.
Impressive standard safety kit on i30 Fastback
Like on the i30 hatchback and i30 Tourer, the Fastback will benefit from a suite of advanced safety kit such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), driver attention alert, high-beam assist and lane-keeping assist.
Customers can also add to this with optional pedestrian recognition (to work in conjunction with AEB), adaptive cruise control, rear-cross traffic alert and blindspot monitoring.
When can I buy the i30N and i30 Fastback?
The i30N is due on sale in the UK around late 2017, with customers having to wait a little longer for the Fastback, arriving early 2018.