KOREAN car maker Hyundai is carrying out winter testing on its first high-performance model, the i30 N which is due to be launched across Europe in the second half of this year.
It's the third member of the i30 family, following the launch of the five-door version in January and the i30 Wagon at the Geneva Motor Show.
Hyundai's first N model will bring together motorsport experience and high-performance road car development, creating maximum driving enjoyment on the road and on the track in an accessible high-performance car package.
During the recent winter testing in Sweden, Thierry Neuville, world rally championship driver of Hyundai Motorsport, tested the car on a frozen lake to get a feeling for its performance and to provide feedback to the engineers in order to further enhance the development process.
He said: "So many people have been looking forward to this car, so it's a pleasure for me to be testing it. "The engineers have done a great job on the gearbox and the differential. There is good traction and good stability in the slippery testing conditions. And it's very easy to handle. A normal driver should get a sensation similar to that of a racing car."
Hyundai is continuing testing in Arjeplog to develop and tune the car's dynamic systems. The electronic stability control, the limited slip differential, the steering, shock absorbers, suspension and tyres are all being tested under extreme weather conditions, with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Alexander Eichler, head of high-performance vehicle test and development at Hyundai Motor Europe's technical centre, added: "The main target for us is to ensure driving enjoyment. Symbolising a chicane, the "N" logo embodies this aspect - an agile vehicle that is fun to drive."