New 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N spied testing for the first time

A high performance version of new Ioniq 5 crossover looks to be on the cards with up to 577bhp of electric power possible

Hyundai has been spotted testing what looks like a high performance version of the new Ioniq 5, which could be launched under the brand’s ‘N’ division umbrella as the company’s first hot EV.

These spy shots show a mysterious Ioniq 5 prototype with little to separate it from regular versions of the car. The only giveaway is the fitment of lightweight alloy wheels shod with high performance Pirelli P Zero tyres. 

Auto Express has known of the Hyundai N division’s plans to develop a high performance electric car based on a model from the new Ioniq sub-brand for a while. We broke the news based on quotes from the Korean manufacturer’s head of technical development and Hyundai management’s suggestion that N’s focus will shift towards more sustainable, environmentally friendly models.

Hyundai’s vice-president for product and strategy, Thomas Schemera, told us early in 2021: “We never stop thinking about expanding our product portfolio. Strategically we are moving full speed ahead with eco-friendly offerings. We have a crystal clear plan. One thing is for sure - eco-friendly vehicles are on our priority list, at the top.”

When asked specifically if N would look to develop cars based on the Ioniq models, which use Hyundai’s e-GMP modular electric platform, Schemera said, “Everybody knows that Hyundai’s electric architecture has a lot of potential and shows a lot of flexibility. So this is an interesting question. I guess if you have a look at our strategy of the future, to offer more eco-friendly vehicles and moving ahead with our battery-electric concept and our fuel cell-electric concept, it seems to be realistic.”

Albert Biermann, Hyundai’s board member for technical development, added, “Let me ask one question in return. Could you imagine we were not working on it already?” 

Our exclusive image shows how an N treatment could look if applied to the Ioniq 5, and we know that the E-GMP platform it uses can have high-performance applications. For instance, the new Kia EV6 GT uses the same architecture as the Ioniq 5, and its all-wheel-drive electric drivetrain produces 577bhp. 

Biermann suggested that the American-market Elantra could give the N division a further model in Europe, if customer demand were sufficient. “We are developing an Elantra N”, he said. “It participated already in the launch event of the Elantra in the United States. At this point it’s not planned for Europe. But if you can create enough demand I would not rule out that it could be reconsidered. It could be an interesting next N vehicle for Europe and other markets.”

Customer feedback could yet persuade Hyundai to offer the Kona N with a manual gearbox, Biermann also admitted. The car has been launched with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic only, but the former BMW M division chief said, “The feedback we get back on the eight-speed dual-clutch is so fantastic. Recently I saw some comments saying that this Hyundai eight-speed DCT is better than the Hyundai manual transmission. That gave us the confidence to say on Kona N, we can try without the manual. If customer demand is higher than we are expecting then we can change this I guess; it’s not such a big challenge from an engineering point of view.”

Click here to read our first review of the all-electric Ioniq 5...

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