Hyundai brings first hot i30 N sedan to Australia
For the first time, Hyundai applies N-division capabilities to the i30 sedan.
Hyundai's i30 sedan N packs more punch, carries more tech, rides on racetrack-derived equipment and rolls on sticky sports tyres.
Hyundai i30 sedan N: Key features
Here are the spec highlights for Hyundai's first N performance sedan, which delivers hot hatch handling with the practicality of an extended boot.
The most attention-grabbing aspect of the Hyundai i30 sedan N has to be all the N-specific body panels and flourishes.
Hyundai technicians developed the following unique-for-the-model elements:
- A dominating front grille insert, that's specific to the N
- An N front bumper, which has large air ducting for guzzling down gallons of cooling air for the brakes and engine.
- Black bevelled headlamps.
- Sculpted, Signal Red N side sills and front lip accent piece.
- Tinted rear taillights (that may be our favourite exterior design change for the N).
- A perfectly proportioned wing-type, boot lid-mounted spoiler.
- A rear diffuser, again with Signal Red accents. There's a dual exhaust that protrudes neatly from the lower body panel too.
- A centrally-positioned, triangular fog light – which feels like a clear nod to F1 or other racing series.
- Black-finish mirror covers.
- 2-tone 19-inch machined/gloss black alloy wheels with a geometric design.
- A selection of bold colour options, including Hyundai's trademark Performance Blue or Cyber Grey among others.
- On a Hyundai i30 sedan N finished in Fiery Red, Hyundai swaps the red accents for N Dark Metal ones, so they still contrast with the paint.
Altogether, the i30 sedan N looks downright mean.
The Hyundai i30 sedan N is hard revving. Its 2.0-litre, turbo petrol engine pumps out a peak power of 206kW and a maximum torque of 392Nm. Max torque is available in an impressively wide rev band ranging from 2,100-4,700rpm. Full power is accessed from 5,500-6,000rpm. The engine should sound great, thanks to the active variable exhaust that Hyundai says, when set to N Mode, will make your i30 sedan N sound like a rally car.
The sedan has a roomier engine bay than the i30 N hatchback, so engineers made use of that space with a re-designed airbox that optimises flow.
An i30 N sedan manages to sprint to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds with a DCT gearbox or 5.8 seconds with a manual cog swapper. That's actually faster off the mark than the hatchback, which Hyundai says will accelerate to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds. 0.1 seconds isn't a huge difference, but that's still impressive.
Flat out, the i30 Sedan N will hit 250km/h.
As standard, all i30 Sedan N models have an 8-speed, dual-clutch N automatic transmission. This gearbox has all kinds of fun tech like rev-matching and a manual-mode – operated by paddle shifters or a motorsport-style centre gear selector that you push forwards or backwards to blip through the cogs.
Drivers can turn creeping off so that with the brake pedal raised the car remains stationary (that'll prevent you from jumping the start light and getting a penalty on track). The DCT also has fun-sounding functions like N Grin Shift, which unlocks full power for a total of 20 seconds, as well as N Track Sense Shift, which promises to maximise driving performance.
For motoring purists, a 6-speed manual gearbox is available at no cost. This transmission still has rev-matching, so you don't have to heel and toe like a rally driver. The ratios have been selected for better acceleration.
Other performance equipment
The i30 Sedan N has more party tricks under its belt.
Using a construction technique lifted straight from Hyundai's WRC car means the front-end has fewer parts, but crucially lowers unsprung mass, which is said to have some of the biggest influences on vehicle dynamics. Thanks to the integrated drive axles (IDA), Hyundai is free to use larger wheel bearings, while wrapping everything into a smaller package. The benefits, it says, are noticeable in the steering feel, the ride and general performance.
Another performance-boosting technology is the electronically-controlled limited-slip diff (E-LSD). The E-LSD decides which front wheel to favour, depending on the conditions, for minimal understeer and maximum turn-in.
Large brakes are a must for a performance car. So, engineers equipped the Hyundai i30 sedan N with 360mm front brake discs (which are more than 2 inches larger than the i30 Sedan N Line's). At the rear, the car has vented rear discs – all squeezed by N brake callipers. The front brakes have cooling ducts to keep them working well even in demanding conditions.
Helping transfer the Hyundai's cleverly managed power to the road surface are a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres – which Hyundai had specifically customised for the i30 Sedan N. Tuners opted for 245mm wide tyres – further improving grip.
Hyundai connected the suspension to the body shell through extra attachment points, which reportedly gives better body control. A rear stiffness bar means the i30 sedan N boasts 29% more torsional rigidity at the rear, again, making it more agile.
Electronic control suspension (ECS) uses G-sensors positioned around the car to adjust the suspension up to 200 times per second), keeping the i30 sedan N in check when cornering or braking hard. Hyundai's local engineers dialled this in for the Aussie market. Apparently, when they received the car from HQ, they were so impressed by how good it was in stock form that it needed the least amount of tweaks of any N model to suit Australian roads. Ostensibly, the team only needed to make some slight adjustments here and there. Their efforts are evident in the Sport and Normal driving modes.
The body shell has also received extra strengthening structures in key areas to boost rigidity.
Like its smaller sibling, the i20 N, Hyundai's N sedan has a racing-inspired interior.
Passengers in the front have heated and cooled, sculpted N sports seats upholstered in black leather. The steering wheel and gear knob are also clad in N leather. The pedals are sport-style metal types. Echoing a Le Mans car, the roof lining is black.
There's also a heap of tech in there, such as a 10.25-inch infotainment screen (with N Mode) and a 10.25-inch driver instrument cluster, with an N Mode display. There's also ambient lighting and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration as well as wireless Qi charging.
The car also has neat features like an automatic lap timer for racing circuits through the Track Maps function. Though only 2 circuits are included at the moment, Hyundai expects to roll out a software update next year to include further Aussie tracks.
For the young at heart, there's a feature where you can blend the sound of the engine with synthesised noises played through the premium Bose audio system. It's like the car makes the noises you did when you were playing with your toys as a kid.
Naturally, the car comes with Hyundai's SmartSense advanced safety system, which includes the smart driving assists you'd expect from a new vehicle.
How much is the Hyundai i30 sedan N?
The manufacturer's list price is $49,000 for the i30 Sedan N Premium. On Hyundai Australia's website, we priced up the i30 Sedan N out to an estimated drive-away cost of $53,085.46 (in NSW).
Metallic paint is a $495 option while a sunroof will set you back $2,000. The Lifetime Service Plan means scheduled maintenance for 5 years (up to 50,000km) costs $335 for each visit.
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