Hyundai unleashes i20 N performance hatch to rival Polo GTI, Clio RS
OFFENBACH, GERMANY - With the i30 N, Hyundai proved to the world that it can make a very decent performance hatch, and now the Korean carmaker is setting its sights on the Volkswagen Polo GTI with its first-ever i20 N.
Based on the third-generation Hyundai i20 hatch that was revealed earlier this year, the i20 N was inspired by the company’s WRC rally car. The compact performance hatch is powered by a 1.6-litre direct injection turbopetrol engine, which produces 150kW between 5500 and 6000rpm and 275Nm from 1750 revs. The engine also has a Rev Matching system that allows for sportier downshifts, depending on the mode selected.
Power goes to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and with Launch Control activated, the i20 N will screech from 0-100km/h in just 6.7 seconds, according to claims, and on to a top speed of 230km/h. Hyundai has also fitted a variable muffler control system to ensure an enticing soundtrack under acceleration.
At this stage there’s no indication when (or if) a dual-clutch gearbox will be offered in the i20 N.
As you’d expect, the new performance hatch also has a reconfigured suspension system, with model-specific shocks, springs and anti-roll bar, and the chassis has been reinforced at 12 different points. Buyers can also opt for a mechanical limited slip differential to keep the front wheels behaved under hard acceleration.
Drivers can choose from five drive modes to control the car’s dynamic systems, these being Normal, Eco, Sport, N and N Custom.
Out on the street you’ll tell the i20 N apart by its unique grille pattern, larger air intakes, N logos, lip spoiler with red accents, side skirts, rally-inspired roof spoiler and rear diffuser. The vehicle rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels, featuring a matte grey finish, and the car is available in six exterior colours, including the signature N Performance Blue that i30 N owners will be familiar with.
Cabin decor comes in the form of bespoke sports seats with integrated headrests as well as metal pedals, N steering wheel and blue accents throughout.
So when can you buy one?
It’s too early to say. Hyundai South Africa says it is looking at the new performance model, but no decisions have been made as yet.