Hyundai is a manufacturer that’s not afraid to try its hand at new segments of the market, and its latest move is an incursion into the realms of the performance car. While BMW has the M Series, Nissan has Nismo and Ford has the ST, Hyundai’s new attempt at taking a share of the performance segment will be the i30 N. The South Korean automaker has just confirmed that full production of the i30 N will commence in September at its factory in the Czech Republic.
Unsurprisingly, the i30N is a performance version of the i30 compact hatchback, and it’s set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 12. This little car sounds as though it’s really going to pack a punch as it will feature a heavily modified version of the Sonata’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
Although official figures for the power output haven’t been confirmed just yet, it’s widely believed there will be two different power ratings available and the smart money is currently on them being somewhere between 193 and 209 kilowatts.
There’s quite some pedigree behind Hyundai’s performance N brand as the company hired Albert Biermann to oversee the project, who was formerly the chief engineer of BMW’s M tuning division. So, when Biermann says of the new Hyundai models: “You can expect a very competitive, fun drive for your money,” you know those are unlikely to be hollow words.
The decision to pursue the N brand is a further move away from the manufacturer’s roots as a totally value-based, affordable brand. The i30 N will be aimed squarely at competing with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI, Ford Focus RS and the more performance-orientated versions of the models such as the Renault Megane and the Seat Leon.
The i30 N will go on sale in Europe not long after the Frankfurt show and it will also be sold in Australia, but it is not planned to be offered to the US or Chinese markets. The US and China will get their own different N-badged cars, which are said to be “in the same spirit” as the i30 N. – AFP Relaxnews