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New 2017 Hyundai i30N hot hatch to come in ‘hot’ and ‘very hot’ guises

Hot and hotter versions of the Hyundai i30N will arrive with potential for full-blown Focus RS rival

Hyundai’s forthcoming i30N hot hatch, previewed by the outrageous 375bhp, four-wheel-drive RN30 concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, will arrive next year in two states of tune.

“We will have two versions: a base version and a more performance orientated one,” Hyundai’s head of vehicle test and high performance development, Albert Biermann told Auto Express.

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“The character will be a little bit different. On the one car, we focus a little bit more on the everyday driving, but it’s also racetrack capable – you can push it hard. The other one is more track going with everyday driving more compromised – you can expect more power, too.”

However Biermann hinted that a more extreme i30N featuring the high-powered engine from the concept and four-wheel drive, to rival the likes of the Ford Focus RS, could come: “We are just starting and the performance level we are offering does not require four wheel drive,” he said. “But I have already driven our testing prototype with 300 horses and the torque and the all-wheel drive and everything, so that car already exists.”

“The 375bhp version of this engine is advanced technology that we’re looking into and testing and we also test all-wheel drive and torque vectoring systems and so on, but there’s no decision yet – we do a lot of advanced projects.”

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However, the i30N has a job to do to prove Hyundai’s performance credentials to sports car buyers before the company goes even hotter. “We are Hyundai, we have no established sports car customer base,” said Biermann.

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“If we go from zero to top level high performance, the question is how many customers will go there to buy a Hyundai with such a high price.”

When the i30N arrives next year, Biermann promised a more restrained level of styling than on a Honda Civic Type R. “This is Hyundai, so we will not go too wild,” he said.

“What we will sell next year will be a mix of this wild car and the i30 – the production car will be closer to the i30 than the RN30, but it has a nice differentiation to the base i30.”

• Best hot hatchbacks on sale right now

“We have a strong value for money point on this car – and it has all the bells and whistles that hot hatches have.”

The i30N will arrive first with a manual gearbox, but with an eight-speed twin-clutch automatic due to arrive. And Biermann also confirmed that the hot N cars could also spawn look-a-like models lower down the range with some of the exterior aesthetics, but without the performance upgrades.

Improvements over standard Hyundai i30

Biermann has previously described several areas of improvement the i30 N will have over a basic i30, including a faster and more precise gearshift, stiffer engine and transmission mounts to deal with higher cornering and braking loads, more sensitive and precise mechanical power steering, ABS tuned to suit the high-performance tyres fitted to the car and modified suspension, including a new front axle knuckle for sharper turn-in.

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Additionally, the i30 has reinforcement to stiffen the chassis and will also feature an electronic limited-slip differential to reduce understeer, although Biermann could not confirm whether this will be standard or optional – or only available on the faster ‘performance pack’ model, which does not have an official designation yet.

An exact price for the RN30 hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Biermann has said N-branded Hyundais will retail for “significantly more than the base models, while still being more reachable than their competitors.” 

• Hyundai N 2025 vision concept revealed

Future Hyundai N cars

Biermann also hinted at further N performance models for the Hyundai brand: “There is some discussion if an i20 could be an N car in the future,” he said. Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis, set to arrive in Europe in the next few years, could also feature N-style performance variants under a different name.

Biermann has previously discussed the possibility of Hyundai dealers offering tuning parts for N customers that could be added to their cars after purchase. “Hyundai has its aftermarket and customisation arm Tuix in Korea, which is not very active in Europe but this could be a nice business opportunity for them.” he said.

What do you think of the Hyundai N performance brand? Can it be a match for Renaultsport and Ford RS? Tell us in the comments...

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