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Motoring Review

Hyundai i30N

South Korean motoring giant, Hyundai, has created a brand new ‘N Division’, which has sparked the awesome new i30 N.
The regular variant gets a 251PS petrol turbo unit, but it’s the 275PS Performance Package i30 N that I was handed the keys to. This car gets bigger brakes to scrub the extra speed off. At the front of the model, there’s also a no-nonsense electronic differential, which decides all sorts of sm

art things to keep the front wheels biting into the bitumen.

The i30 N’s chassis is electronically damped – and the arrangement has been designed to supply all-out precision. At the same time, the system doles out a good dose of refinement, meaning comfort is not in short supply. What’s more, the car has state-of- the-art electronic dampers at each corner that empower it to do things some other challengers can’t even consider – both on tarmac and on track.

The i30 N also belts out a banging tune of its own. Seriously, the car sounds incredible. And when the pedal is pushed to the metal in third gear, all sorts of crackles and pops fire from the tailpipes. What’s most extraordinary, however, is how the i30 N handles, turns and comes to a halt. The steering is outstandingly precise, and the car doesn’t feel edgy at the rear whatsoever. This is some feat, considering that it takes the Hyundai a mere 2.2 turns from lock to lock. The handling is unreservedly razor-sharp, even in ‘Normal’ setting. Things get spicier in ‘Sport’ mode, and there’s a ‘Custom’ choice in which you can alter the car’s specific characteristics.

The i30 N also has, perhaps unsurprisingly, an ‘N’ mode. This is only meant for using on a track really, so the ride quality is stiff and hard-nosed. But if you’re in the right frame of mind and the weather and road conditions are okay, then it is a grin-inducing system. The throttle map and exhaust become zestier, while the dampers become more unyielding. Furthermore, any interruption from the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) is played right down.

Out and out performance is heavy-duty from the 2.0-litre petrol turbo powerplant in all settings. It never feels too much, though – and the six-speed manual transmission hops through the cogs satisfyingly. The hot Hyundai’s straight-line talent is blisteringly impressive, but it is the i30 N’s chassis that blows you away. This is the feature that remains indelibly etched on my mind. It’s my ‘take-away’ memory of the car if you like. Sure, this isn’t the fastest hatchback ever made – but the point is, not many cars in this segment will have such an excellent chassis set-up. And, here’s the occasionally thorny bit – the price. Well, with this Hyundai there is no issue. The South Korean firm knew it had to chip away at the main competition to give itself authority in the hot-hatch market. Therefore, an on-the-road price-tag of £27,995 is more than respectable, bearing in mind how capable the 2.0 T-GDi 275PS N Performance is behind the wheel. Moreover, the car is jam-packed with kit, and it feels well screwed together.

FAST FACTS

2.0 T-GDi 275PS
N Performance– as tested

• Max speed: 155 mph• 0-62 mph: 6.1 secs
• Combined mpg: 39.8
• Engine layout: 1,998cc four-cylinder petrol turbo

• Max. power (PS): 275 • CO2: 163 g/km
• Price: £27,995

By Tim Barnes-Clay

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