Hyundai’s i30 N gives ‘fun to drive’ new meaning

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Hyundai’s first mass-produced high-performance car which has been lavished with high praise and described in the media as a “massive success”, “an absolute triumph” and an “astonishing performance model”, has arrived in South Africa – ready to infuse the brand with the excitement that accompanies it.

Hyundai’s i30 N performance hatchback has been developed on three “cornerstones” under the theme “Fun to Drive”: Cornering, Race-track Capability and Everyday Sports Car. Advanced technology and a high level of driver customisation has been built into the i30 N, which means it can play the role of a comfort-oriented commuter as well as a race-track ready performance car.

The ‘N’ stands for Namyang, Hyundai Motor’s global Research and Development Centre in Korea, and for the world-famous Nürburgring motor racing complex in Germany, home to Hyundai’s European Test Centre where the manufacturer’s models built on the European continent are developed and tested. The i30 N underwent 10 000 km of driving on the Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring to test its durability.

The N symbol also has another meaning that speaks to the car’s track credentials. The letter is a depiction of a race chicane and represents the i30 N’s philosophy of translating the joy of negotiating winding motorsport tracks, to the fun of everyday road driving.

When the driver hits the throttle and shifts through the gears, the i30 N’s rev-matching function supports smooth gear shifting, while the overboost function increases torque (+8%) and acceleration (+6-7%) from the 2-litre, 202 kW turbocharged engine.

The exhilarating feeling is enhanced by the car’s sound from the dual muffler exhaust featuring the variable exhaust valve system, and the cockpit of the i30 N shows key performance parameters through the new instrument cluster and the 8-inch free-floating screen’s modes such as the G-Force meter for live tracking of performance.

The i30 N was launched in 2017 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show but, thanks to Hyundai Motor’s experience in the high-octane world of motorsport, the first ideas were born on the track long before and developed to deliver a car which screams fun as much as its racing engine hums.

In 2015 Hyundai Motor took an important step by hiring Albert Biermann, who has a wealth of experience honing the performance and dynamics high-performance road and race cars. Biermann, now president and head of the Vehicle Performance Division, has used his knowledge and experience of high-performance production cars to spearhead the development of the Hyundai N brand.

“We aren’t afraid to do things differently here. Our N cars balance performance and practicality so that they are fun to drive every day. Every N car loves cornering, hence the nickname we have given to their character: ‘Corner Rascal.’ Whether it’s urban commuting or track driving, N handles it beautifully,” says Biermann.

In 2018, Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Head of the High-Performance Vehicle & Motorsport Division at Hyundai Motor, followed Biermann to the Korean brand, also bringing with him valuable knowledge and experience in developing high-performance cars.

“At Hyundai, we always accept new challenges and try different things to deliver ground-breaking experiences for our customers. We aren’t here to simply build cars, we want to create emotions, feelings, and desire,” says Schemera.

Those feelings and emotions are even more intense in the i30 N that is launched in South Africa and which is equipped with a Performance Package that – apart from the other N-features – include the high-output 202 kW turbocharged engine, an Electronically Controlled Limited Slip Differential, a variable exhaust valve system and 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero performance tyres.

Here are some outstanding facts and features of the Hyundai i30 N:

  • Driven by motorsport: Hyundai Motorsport has been a highly successful participant and winner in the gruelling World Rally Championship since 2014, though Hyundai vehicles have competed in other competitions prior to that. From its base in Alzenau, Germany, the programme has enabled its engineers to apply their experience to develop and refine Hyundai’s N range of performance cars. The i30 N takes true race capability to every-day driving.
  • Tested at the Nürburgring: Hyundai N’s high-performance technologies were honed at Germany’s world-famous Nürburgring race track in Germany. As part of the Hyundai i30 N durability testing, and as with all its European-made models, the car recorded up to 480 laps of the track in both dry and wet conditions, simulating up to 180 000 km of severe driving. With 20,8 km of track, the Nürburgring is part of a motorsport complex that is home to Hyundai Motor’s own 3 600 square metre testing centre.
  • A distinctive look: While it is based on the i30 five-door, the i30 N boasts its own unique design. It shimmers with the blue colouring synonymous with Hyundai Motorsports race cars. The model has an enlarged version of Hyundai’s defining Cascading Grille providing more air cooling to the engine and brakes.

The i30 N also has stylish 19-inch wheels with 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero high-performance tyres and red brake callipers featuring the N-logo. Aggressive bumpers with larger air intakes and a red character line, an aerodynamic rear spoiler with a triangular brake light, and a dual muffler exhaust complete the sleek, sporty look (read more about design features in separate media release).

  • BPM not RPM: Designed to deliver pure driving enjoyment, the i30 N emphasises its emotional impact on drivers by measuring heartbeats per minute (BPM), rather than simply revs per minute (RPM). The i30 N’s rev matching function is built in to adjust the engine revolutions when the driver shifts from a higher to a lower gear, thereby ensuring smooth gear shifting. The dual muffler exhaust sounds add to the pleasure of commanding a true high-performance vehicle.
  • Five drive modes: Proof that the i30 N is engineered to put a smile on your face is seen with the aptly named N Grin Control System. Buttons on the steering wheel alternate the i30 N’s five drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. Each mode changes the car’s character, adjusting the high-performance parameters of the vehicle, including its engine and rev matching.
  • Extraordinary stability and ride and handling: Systems like the Electronically Controlled suspension (ECS) and Electronically Controlled Limited Slip Differential ensures an exhilarating drive with cornering capabilities that befits the i30 N’s hot-hatch character (read more about the advanced technical features in a separate release).
  • Built for speed: The i30 N boasts a top speed of 250 km/h and goes from 0-100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds. That is all thanks to the powerful T-GDi engine, generating 353 Nm torque from 1 500-4 700 r/min., reaching a maximum of 378 Nm for a brief period when in overboost.
  • Performance tracking: Inside the i30 N combines the latest connectivity technology with performance analysing software. Entertainment features include smart-device synching through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the 8-inch free-floating screen. Satellite navigation information can also be displayed, but for those race-day track experiences the car’s systems can also record lap times and cornering forces thanks to a G-Force meter.
  • From true race capability to every-day driving: In Normal or Eco mode the i30 N can be an every-day car with softer suspension and fuel consumption that reflects economical driving.

Since its launch in Europe in 2017, prominent motoring media publications and programmes have been more than impressed with the i30 N’s performance, build quality and excellent ride and handling characteristics. Here are some of the comments:

  • The BBC’s Top Gear said the i30 N was a “massive success”, particularly praising its performance. “The Hyundai i30 N is exactly the car its maker needs it to be. It’s harder and sharper than I expected, and establishes the N brand as both surprisingly sporting and assertive.”
  • Evo Magazine lavished praise on the i30 N, awarding it the maximum five-star score and calling it “a pretty stunning first effort from Hyundai’s N division”. The publication praises Biermann and his team for the car’s chassis, which delivers “maximum precision in its most aggressive settings – which you’d expect given his background – but also a surprising range of comfort and refinement when you dial it all back down via the various electronic drive modes”.
  • On its web site, BBC’s Top Gear magazine also praised the i30 N’s “wonderfully driver-focused touches”, reserving particular praise for its “big hugging” sports seats, manual handbrake and illuminated rev-counter with a red line that varies according to how warm the engine is.

Special i30 N sales dealerships

The i30 N will be on sale at 14 selected Hyundai dealerships in South Africa, and one each in Botswana and Namibia.

The South African i30 N dealerships are: Belville, Somerset West, Port Elizabeth, Durban South, Pinetown, Umhlanga, Richard’s Bay, East Rand, The Glen, Sandton, Roodepoort, Centurion, Wonderboom and Polokwane.

The i30 N can be serviced at all Hyundai dealerships in South Africa, Botswana Namibia and Eswatini.

Price

The Hyundai i30 N goes on sale at a suggested retail price of R 679 900, which includes a 7-year/200 000 km warranty, roadside assistance for 7-years or 150 000 km, and 5-year/75 000 km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000 km or once a year.

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