The Hyundai i30 N has a claimed a 0-100km/h sprint of 6.1 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Hyundai i30 N has a claimed a 0-100km/h sprint of 6.1 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hyundai has confirmed that its high-performance i30 N will be launched in SA in January to light up the hot-hatch wars.

With 202kW and 353Nm from its turbocharged 2.0l petrol engine, the i30 N will directly take on the Renault Megane RS 280 Lux (205kW/390Nm) while outgunning the VW Golf GTI’s 169kW and 350Nm.

The i30 N will be the first real high-performance car from the Korean stable to reach local soil and will be sold from a selected network of 15 Hyundai dealers with specialist training in the car, although all Hyundai dealers will be able to service it.

The five-door i30 N hatch is the first product from Hyundai’s high-performance N division and the N badge has featured on Hyundai’s i20 world rally car for several years. Hyundai has also built a track racing version of the i30N which currently lies second in this year’s FIA World Touring Car Cup.

This is Hyundai’s first attempt at taking on the hot-hatch establishment so it spent a lot of time testing and honing the i30 N at the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife to get things right.

To ensure it has a nimble chassis to match its straight-line acceleration, the hot Hyundai is equipped with computer-controlled suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential, while launch control helps it to sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.1 seconds. Top speed is 250km/h.

One of the i30 N’s most exciting features is its N Grin Control System, so named after the contented ‘grin’ drivers experience as they drive it, says Hyundai. It provides five distinctive drive modes to match their mood, including Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom settings, selected with a flick of the two dedicated buttons on the steering wheel.

Bucket seats and metallic finishes give the cabin some sporting glamour. Picture: SUPPLIED
Bucket seats and metallic finishes give the cabin some sporting glamour. Picture: SUPPLIED

A variable-valve exhaust allows the driver to also set the car’s sound quality from merely vocal to neighbour-waking. Like most of its rivals the i30 N is a front-wheel drive, and power is channelled via a six-speed manual gearbox. A rev-matching function automatically adjusts the engine revs when the driver shifts from a higher to a lower gear.

The i30 N’s cockpit features a 20cm floating screen that showcases key performance parameters so that drivers can record their lap times and track their g-forces.

Specially-developed 19-inch Pirelli P Zero tyres ensure sticky traction. The brakes are also made to take on race circuits and feature additional cooling through air intakes on the front bumper.

Styling-wise the i30 N adopts a more subtle approach than the likes of a Honda Civic Type R, but the Korean car is easily distinguished from regular i30s by its rear spoiler and more aggressive bumpers. The interior is glammed up with sports seats and metallic accents.

There is no word yet on local pricing, but our educated guess would place it around the R600,000 to R650,000 mark.