MENTION hot hatches and Hyundai is not a name that immediately springs to mind.
The Veloster arrived amid high hopes and fizzled out fairly swiftly, but now the Korean marque has launched the blisteringly-fast i30 N.
The ‘N' brand will be familiar to rally fans around the world, but for day-to-day drivers this is a new dimension for a fairly straight forward family hatchback.
And if any further explanation was necessary, the car was created at the company's R&D centre in Namyang and further developed at the Nurburgring so hence that ‘N' suffix.
The i30 N stands out from the standard car thanks to some dynamic styling cues such as N Exclusive bumpers and radiator grille, 18-inch alloys with performance tyres, smoked tail lights, a rear spoiler, tinted windows, twin tail pipes and red brake calipers which is always a guide as to what's in store.
And if you're looking for a little extra reassurance that this Hyundai is a little bit special there is an N Exclusive rear diffuser, N Exclusive Sport cluster, N Exclusive Sport seats, aluminium pedals, an N Mode button (I'll come back to that), active sound design and lots more besides.
Power is courtesy of a 2.0-litre 250ps petrol engine with 353Nm of pulling power. It can fire its way from 0-62mph in just 6.4 seconds, maxes out at 155mph and can deliver combined fuel economy of 36.7mpg (if driven with a degree of respect) with carbon emissions of 176g/km.
And when it comes to pricing, it's competitively marketed at Â£26,345.
The interior is beautifully styled with supportive and quite firm seats plus a whole array of techno treats to explore.
There is full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Bluetooth with voice recognition, a DAB digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, air con and wireless phone charging.
Comfort levels within the car are great upfront, but legroom is a little restricted for back seat passengers.
The boot can accommodate 395 litres of luggage - a limit that increases to 1,301 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are door pockets, cup holders, a glovebox, a front armrest with storage bin and a rear armrest with cup holders.
But this is car that's all about performance and that's where it excels. It starts up with a roar and the driving dynamics match the raucous outburst. There are different driving modes called Normal, Sport and Eco that alter the way the i30 N handles.
The Normal and Eco modes are great for more relaxed driving or in the wet when the i30 N behaves in a calm, responsible manner. Sport mode is for more spirited driving but the most interesting button is discovered on the steering wheel with a chequered flag design. It's called the N mode - press that and the i30 N suddenly behaves like a hot hatch that's sizzling with heat.
The active exhaust sound becomes more vocal and booms when you change down through the gears. The display screen adjusts to show G-force and power flow readouts and the handling is perfect for a day at the track.
On our somewhat ‘ruined' UK road network, you'd have to take a bravery pill before travelling too far in the N mode. That's because the car's responses become incredibly sharp. It's easy to lose grip and composure especially if a little rain has fallen and bends need to be given a fair amount of respect.
For me, Sport mode ticked all the right boxes for a thrilling driving experience and leave the chequered flag to the track where it was designed to show off its true capabilities. That said; it is still guaranteed to put a smile on your face on a winding country lane with little other traffic as company and glorious sunshine.