Hyundai hasn’t shown a lack of commitment to the performance cause with the specification of the i30 N.

True, many of the components that we’re about to reference here are from companies particular to Hyundai’s own supply chain and lesser known than the names we’re used to – but their very presence is a clear sign of ambition and also that this car is to be taken seriously by keen drivers.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
For a Sunday morning blast, I’d take a i30 N over a Golf GTI. There’s a lot more entertainment and character here – but I’d wouldn’t want to deal with all of it every day

That hardware consists of a version of Hyundai’s torque-rich, turbocharged 1998cc Theta GDI petrol engine mated to a six-speed gearbox delivering drive to the front axle alone through an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

Fitted with 19in wheels, the car sits 8mm lower than the standard i30 hatch, wears a subdued body kit and uses adaptive suspension configurable through four modes.

Customisability is a central tenet of the i30 N experience. Along with the suspension, the car’s throttle response, rev-matching function, differential, exhaust, steering (electrically assisted, with a rack-mounted motor for additional precision) and stability control are all changeable to some extent, and owners will be able to group their preferences together in a Custom mode. The stability control can also be switched off entirely, a Biermann calling card.

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The i30 N’s vital statistics make for encouraging reading but there’s no doubt that they trail those of the very quickest front-drive hot hatches.

Cars such as the Civic Type R now boast more than 300bhp, whereas the Hyundai can muster only 271bhp at 6000rpm with an accompanying 279lb ft between 1500rpm and 4700rpm on overboost (although 260lb ft is the homologated permanent torque figure).

These numbers do better those of the Golf GTI by a considerable margin, but the 1386kg VW is usefully lighter than the 1429kg Hyundai.

All of the above applies to the Performance Package model tested here and likely to be the bigger seller. In its standard fettle, the i30 N does with only an open differential, 247bhp, 18in wheels and no active exhaust.

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