Frankfurt - After making its online debut back in July, Hyundai’s i30 N made its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week, but the big question for us was whether the new hot hatch would be coming to South Africa.

Sadly there is no definite answer for now, with Hyundai’s local representatives stating that they would certainly like to bring it here, but that the final decision would rest on their ability to bring it in at a competitive price, something that would hinge on both the local currency and the Korean parent company’s pricing strategy.

If all those sums work out, it would certainly be an exciting halo model for the brand. The i30 N is the company’s first high-performance car to wear the new ‘N’ performance badge, and the hot hatch will go up against rivals like the Golf GTI, Megane RS and Focus ST.

Powering its front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox with Rev Matching technology is a 2-litre turbopetrol engine that Hyundai will offer in two states of tune: 184kW and 202kW. Hyundai quotes a torque figure of 353Nm for both, with up to 378Nm being available in short bursts during overboost.

But how fast is it?

According to Hyundai, the 202kW version will screech to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds, while the 184kW model will take 6.4 seconds. The i30 N also features launch control and drivers can toy with the variable exhaust valve system for some extra acoustic drama.

In honing its chassis, engineers put the i30 N through 10 000km of testing on the Nürburgring. The hot hatch sits 8mm lower to the ground when fitted with the 19-inch wheel option (or 4mm lower when equipped with the standard 18” rims), and Hyundai has kitted it out with a sport suspension system with adjustable dampers as well as an electronically controlled limited slip differential. 

Drivers can choose from five drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom), which adjust the engine, chassis, steering and sound parameters. The cabin, which includes bespoke ‘N’ sports seats and steering wheel, is also equipped with a G-Force meter. 

As for the exterior design, the i30 N is set apart by sportier bumpers, a front splitter, widened wheel arches, red brake calipers and a rear spoiler.

IOL Motoring