It was in 2013 that Hyundai established a new performance division to leverage its motorsport technology, honed primarily in the World Rally Championship, for hot versions of its road cars.
The new performance division was named the Hyundai N division, and it had its official coming out party at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show. The "N" signifies Hyundai's Namyang R&D center located in Hwaseong, Korea, as well as the Nürburgring where a lot of the track testing will happen.
Today we have new spy shots and video of the first N-developed Hyundai, a high-performance version of the i30 hatchback that we get here as the Elantra GT.
We know this is the N-developed i30 because of its additional air intakes, dual-tip exhaust system, lowered suspension, and uprated wheels, tires and brakes.
The car, to be called the i30 N, will be unveiled later this year—most likely at September’s 2017 Frankfurt auto show. And to ensure it’s convincing, Hyundai will enter two virtually production-ready examples in the 2017 Nürburgring 24 Hours in late May. Some readers will recall Hyundai also raced one of the development mules in the 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours. It finished 90th overall.
Unfortunately, the car isn’t headed for the United States. Instead, we’ll get a hotted-up version of another Hyundai, most likely the Elantra sedan or possibly the next-generation Veloster.
Hyundai i30 N race car on the Nürburgring
That’s a shame, because the i30 N will be quite the formidable rival to cars like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI. It will be powered by a turbocharged inline-4 thought to be delivering 246 horsepower in standard guise and 271 hp in a more hardcore, track-focused version. In comparison, the Focus ST and Golf GTI have 252 and 210 hp (220 hp with Performance Package), respectively.
Drive will be to the front wheels only and at launch there will only be a 6-speed manual. An 8-speed dual-clutch transmission is due to be made available eventually, however.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.