Hyundai only launched its first full-blown N performance car, the i30 N hatch, here in Australia in March 2018 – but there’s unlikely to be a new generation in petrol form.
A second iteration of the Nurburgring-tuned i30 N hatch looks highly unlikely to emerge using combustion power, with its direct replacement expected to instead be electric – an essential move for hatch-heavy regions such as Europe where emissions caps are ever tightening.
Update Dec 13 at 10am: We’ve updated this story to clarify a quote, but the story remains the same otherwise – Ed.
That said, the current version will soldier on for a few years yet, focused on markets including Australia where it remains a sales hit and perception-changer for the brand.
Moreover the i30 N sedan – which sits on different underpinnings and is running on a different life cycle – appears set to live on into a new generation, according to N guru and Executive Technical Advisor Albert Biermann, and N Brand vice-president Till Wartenberg.
Both were present at the fourth annual Australian N Fest at The Bend Motorsports Park in South Australia last weekend, where more than 200 N cars and their owners converged for a weekend of track activity and all things N.
“The i30 N is quite safe, at least the sedan version, so we will see the next-generation car with a new petrol engine, as it’s already in our long-range plans,” said Mr Biermann.
“In Australia we’re in a good position. Other markets like Europe are dreaming and there’s a good chance there will be no further combustion engine N cars in some markets with Euro 7 regulations looming.
“When we talk C segment N EV, it could be a hatchback then, but it might take some time to get there, to get it right.”
Hyundai is set to launch its first ever full-blown battery-electric N vehicle in late 2023, the Ioniq 5 N – a track capable, high-performance version of its already-popular Ioniq 5 crossover built on the company’s dedicated EV platform known as E-GMP.
It’s likely to feature a similar version of the dual-motor powertrain in the upcoming Kia EV6 GT which makes 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque – good enough for a 0-100km/h dash in a claimed 3.5 seconds, and set to launch here Q1 2023.
Hyundai already uses this same powertrain in its RN22e Prototype – an all-electric N ‘Rolling Lab’, said to also power an unconfirmed N version of the Ioniq 6 ‘streamliner’ sedan, rumoured to launch locally in 2023 too.
Few would argue with the notion the i30 N hatch, in particular, has developed a cult status in its four short years.
And it’s not just Australia that celebrates N cars. Hyundai’s N division holds these N Fest events all around the world and its clear N owners relish the opportunity to get together on track, as well as for activities like ‘Show ‘N Shine, drive programs, and hot laps – here with Hyundai’s TCR driver Josh Bucan and rally ace Brendan Reeves.
Believe it or not, Australia punches well above its weight when it comes to Hyundai N cars. We are the third largest market by volume and numero uno on a per capita basis. That’s a staggering statistic and testament to the N cars and their owners’ commitment to the brand.