Durban - Hyundai South Africa has some bad news for us.

Those i30 N hatchbacks that set social media ablaze earlier this week after being spotted in the Durban harbour are sadly not for South Africa, they are in fact “in transit” to Australia, Hyundai South Africa has confirmed.

Local petrolheads made the logical assumption that the appearance of these cars on the docks actually meant that the Golf GTI and Focus ST rival was to be launched locally in the near future.

But it’s not out of the question, with Hyundai SA stating that although it doesn’t have definite plans at the moment to launch i30 N, “the door is always open for that to happen when the circumstances prove right for such a venture.”

In other words, the rand is simply too weak to allow importation at a competitive price.

So what are we missing out on?

To recap, the i30 N is the first high-performance car to wear Hyundai’s new ‘N’ performance badge.

It’s powered by a 2-litre turbopetrol engine that’s offered in two states of tune: 184kW and 202kW - with 353Nm on tap in both cases. Strangely however, the N can only be had with a six-speed manual gearbox.

With launch control set up, the i30 N can run from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds (202kW version), says Hyundai.

The hatch is also kitted out with a sports suspension system with adjustable dampers as well as an electronically controlled limited slip differential. Buyers can order it with 19-inch wheels, and in that guise the car sits 8mm lower to the ground.

“We are aware that - based on comments and reactions on social and local online media - quite an appetite exists for the launch of this performance car,” Hyundai SA sales director Stanley Anderson concluded.

“We are watching the game..”

Now to sort that rand out, Mr President..

IOL Motoring