The appearance of the Hyundai i30 N in South Africa ends a long period of speculation as to whether the Korean sportster would be imported or if a wavering Rand could price it out of contention.
The wait is over, and it is here.
The i30 N performance hatchback was developed on three cornerstones under the theme ‘Fun to Drive’ – Cornering, Race-track Capability and Everyday Sports Car.
The ‘N’ stands for Namyang, Hyundai Motor’s global Research and Development Centre in Korea, and for the world-famous Nürburgring motor racing complex in Germany, home to Hyundai’s European Test Centre where the manufacturer’s models built on the European continent are developed and tested. The i30 N underwent 10 000 km of driving on the Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring to test its durability.
According to Hyundai, the N symbol also has another meaning that speaks to the car’s track credentials. The letter is a depiction of a race chicane and represents the i30 N’s philosophy of translating the joy of negotiating winding motorsport tracks, to the fun of everyday road driving.
When the driver hits the throttle and shifts through the gears, the i30 N’s rev-matching function supports smooth gear shifting, while the overboost function increases torque (+8%) and acceleration (+6-7%) from the 2,0-litre, 202 kW turbo-charged engine.
The i30 N was launched in 2017 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show but, it origins go back to 2015 when Hyundai Motor took an important step by hiring Albert Biermann, who brought a wealth of experience honing the performance and dynamics high-performance road and race cars. Biermann, now president and head of the Vehicle Performance Division, used his knowledge and experience of high-performance production cars to spearhead the development of the Hyundai N brand.
“We are not afraid to do things differently here. Our N cars balance performance and practicality so they are fun to drive every day. Every N car loves cornering, hence the nickname we have given to their character: ‘Corner Rascal.’ Whether it is urban commuting or track driving, N handles it beautifully,” says Biermann.
In 2018, Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Head of the High-Performance Vehicle & Motorsport Division at Hyundai Motor, followed Biermann to the Korean brand, also bringing with him valuable knowledge and experience in developing high-performance cars.
“At Hyundai, we always accept new challenges and try different things to deliver ground-breaking experiences for our customers. We are not here to simply build cars, we want to create emotions, feelings, and desire,” says Schemera.
The i30 N that is launched in South Africa is equipped with a Performance Package that – apart from the other N-features – includes the high-output 202 kW turbo-charged engine, an Electronically Controlled Limited Slip Differential, a variable exhaust valve system and 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero performance tyres.
The car features five drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. Each mode changes the car’s character, adjusting the high-performance parameters of the vehicle, including its engine and rev matching.
It boasts a top speed of 250 km/h and goes from 0-100 km/h in just 6,1 seconds thanks to the T-GDi engine, generating 353 Nm torque from 1 500 r/min – 4 700 r/min., reaching a maximum of 378 Nm for a brief period when in overboost.
Entertainment features include smart-device synching through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the 8-inch free-floating screen. Satellite navigation information can also be displayed, but for those race-day track experiences the car’s systems can also record lap times and cornering forces thanks to a G-Force meter.
The i30 N will be on sale at 14 selected Hyundai dealerships in South Africa and one each in Botswana and Namibia.
The South African i30 N dealerships are: Belville, Somerset West, Port Elizabeth, Durban South, Pinetown, Umhlanga, Richard’s Bay, East Rand, The Glen, Sandton, Roodepoort, Centurion, Wonderboom and Polokwane.
The i30 N can be serviced at all Hyundai dealerships in South Africa, Botswana Namibia and Eswatini.
The Hyundai i30 N goes on sale at a suggested retail price of R 679 900, which includes a 7-year/200 000 km warranty, roadside assistance for 7-years or 150 000 km, and 5-year/75 000 km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000 km or once a year.