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Hyundai's new hot hatch

Hyundai's new hot hatch

Steve Grant, 2017-07-17

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Hyundai has unveiled its first ever high-performance car - the i30 N.

The 2.0-litre hot hatch was unveiled at a global premiere in Dusseldorf alongside the trendsetting i30 Fastback - the first ‘coupe' in the hugely popular compact family car market.

Alongside the new i30 hatch and the i30 Tourer, it gives the Korean manufacturer the biggest line-up in the sector.

Bosses at Hyundai Europe are extremely excited by the 130 N - the N logo symbolises a chicane - which has been developed from the ground up to deliver maximum driving pleasure on the road, as well as on the track.

The N has been inspired by Hyundai Motorsport's experience and success in the World Rally Championship since 2014.

Due to be launched across Europe by the end of the year, the i30 N is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine available with two power outputs.

The standard model delivers 250ps or you can choose the Performance Package which boosts power to 275ps.

Both deliver maximum torque of 353Nm and a top speed of 155mph - plenty for other hot hatch manufacturers to think about. The 275ps version does the 0-62mph sprint in 6.1 seconds.

The i30 N - or ‘corner rascal' according to Albert Biermann, executive vice-president of Hyundai's high performance vehicle decision - comes with front-wheel drive and a short-throw six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching.

Upgrade to the Performance Package and there's specially-developed 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero tyres, launch control, red brake calipers and larger discs. There's also a physics-defying Electronic Limited Slip Differential to extract maximum grip.

Yet the i30 N is as everyday practical as its siblings with all the same useful features, comfort and connectivity.

Hyundai is so confident, the company claims you could drive the i30 N to work and then use it on the track without changes because its brakes have been developed to last with an extra cooling function through the air intakes on the front bumper.

Biermann, formerly vice-president engineering of BMW's M division, said: "The Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package."

The N launch slightly overshadowed a second new i30 model - the Fastback - the first elegant five-door coupe to enter the compact segment.

A sort of coupe-GT cross, the Fastback features a sloping roofline, longer bonnet and a more muscular body than its everyday siblings.

There's wide wheel arches and the roof has been lowered by 25mm. The chassis has also been lowered and its suspension stiffened for more a sportier feeling. But, it's actually more than 11 centimetres longer than the five-door hatch.

No price has been revealed yet but there's a choice between a 1.4 T-GDI turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 140ps or the 1.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 120ps.

Two 1.6-litre turbo diesels producing 110ps and 136ps are on the way.

The Fastback will be available at the beginning of next year.

Hyundai also announced it would be launching 30 new models and derivatives over the next five years, including more N models.

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