By Mike Torpey on 2019-11-03 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Hyundai i30 Fastback
MAXIMUM driving pleasure in an accessible high-performance package.
That was Hyundai's sole purpose in developing its latest hot coupe, the i30 Fastback N.
The secret to this stylish offering is the letter 'N', used to namecheck the two pillars of the car's development - Namyang and the Nurburgring.
Designed in Korea and exhaustively tested on the legendary German racing circuit, even the shape of the N is meant to symbolise a chicane, that part of the track where the car has maximum traction, precision and feeling.
The i30 Fastback N is actually unique in its area of the new car market in that it is the first fiery five-door coupe.
It follows on from the successful i30 N hatchback launched early last year and, not to put too fine a point on it, is an absolute cracker.
With a four-cylinder 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo petrol engine delivering 275ps and 378Nm of torque - with overboost function - it can blast from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds.
But impressive acceleration figures only tell a small part of the story - the Fastback's handling is a revelation, its formidable cornering ability aided by its electronic limited slip differential.
And the Hyundai's electronic controlled suspension further adjusts the performance during cornering, acceleration and braking while 19-inch Pirelli performance N tyres and red brake calipers help guarantee maximum grip.
So this is a proper driver's car but a stylish-looking coupe too with its leather and brushed suede sports seats, drilled alloy pedals, chunky leather steering wheel and short throw six-speed manual gearbox.
Drive modes are Normal, Sport, Eco, N and N Custom, meaning there's decent scope for conserving fuel.
Engage the Sport setting though and the i30 shows some serious attitude as it heightens the throttle response, stiffens the suspension and weights up the steering - all accompanied by a throaty snarl.
This is where the real enjoyment kicks in as the traction and stability control, acting like an experienced co-pilot, discreetly assists when needed.
And if you really fancy that racetrack feeling then it can be switched off altogether.
Factor in the Fastback's launch control set-up for maximum traction or pop the rev-matching button on the steering wheel and you can enjoy smooth, super-fast downshifts.
Otherwise the i30 has a simple, uncluttered interior with appreciable rear space, though the centre passenger position is slightly perched, and a large deep boot.
Hyundai i30 Fastback N
Mechanical: 275ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 34.0
Insurance Group: 178g/km
C02 emissions: 37%
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles
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