Hyundai tunes i30 to the Nth degree

North America won't get i30 N but may get Elantra variant with N tuning

Published: March 24, 2017, 9:30 PM
Updated: March 27, 2017, 9:32 PM

Hyundai i30 N winter testing

Hyundai has announced that the first product of its N performance division will be an i30, which means we won’t get it in North America. Well, maybe not.

Rather, Hyundai has told Car and Driver that the performance upgrades, and N designation, will likely make it into an Elantra product for North America. And of course, the i30 is the Elantra GT in North America, so …

But that’s speculation. Here’s what we know. The car will be distributed starting in the second half of 2017, and recently underwent winter testing in Arjeplog, Sweden at the hands of World Rally driver Thierry Neuville.

“So many people have been looking forward to this car, so it’s a pleasure for me to be testing it,” said Neuville. “The engineers have done a good job on the gearbox and the differential. There is good traction and stability in the slippery testing conditions and it’s very easy to handle. A normal driver should get a sensation similar to a race car.”

The test was meant to shake down the car’s performance and handling characteristics, concentrating on tuning the car’s dynamic systems — electronic stability control, limited slip differential, steering, dampers, suspension and even tires.

The i30 N uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 247 hp, or 271 with a Performance Pack. That will hold it in good standing among rivals like the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Type-R, and Volkswagen GTI.

Transmission choices for the performance hatchback include a 6-speed manual and 8-speed dual clutch, though rumour has them exclusive to each version of the 2.0T. Among other noteworthy features are 19-inch wheels, sport seats and steering wheel, and revamped instrumentation, as well as a host of interior and exterior design enhancements.