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:
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.
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:
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.
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.