Hyundai revealed the first of its new line of “N-spec” enthusiast street cars. Based on the New Generation i30 model, the i30 N is a subcompact hot hatch “developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package,” noted Albert Biermann, executive vice president of Hyundai’s Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division. Inspired by the automaker’s World Rally Championship i20 model, it will go on sale in Europe and Korea by the end of the year. While the i30 N is not for American showrooms, Hyundai has confirmed the U.S will be getting vehicles from its N sub-brand. The first is expected here late next year and may be based on the next-gen Veloster.

Attitude plus ability

Born in Hyundai Motor’s global R&D Center in Korea, the 6-speed manual front-drive i30 N got its real-world fine-tuning at Germany’s famed Nürburgring race circuit, which also is the site of Hyundai’s European Testing Center. Initially, it will be offered in two forms, the base model with a highly responsive 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-inject 4-cylinder that makes 247 horsepower and an i30 N with performance pack that bumps the pony count to 271--extra muscle that drops its 0-62 mph sprint time from 6.4 to 6.1 seconds. Both engines make 260 lb-ft of torque and give the i30 N a top speed of 155 mph. But performance pack cars step up from 18-inch alloys wrapped in custom Michelin Hyundai N tires to 19-inch alloys paired with bespoke Pirelli P Zero rubber and boast even bigger brakes, an Electronic Limited Slip Differential and a more aurally exciting Variable Exhaust Valve System.

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To elevate the driving experience, all i30 N variants feature numerous performance-focused touches including quick, precise electronic power steering, Electronic Controlled suspension, Launch Control, driver-selectable/defeatable Electronic Stability Control, rev-matching on downshifts and a choice of five different drive mode settings – Eco/Normal/Sport/N/N Custom -- that alter the various engine/chassis programs to accommodate any situation.

Fast-lane feature set

The i30 N’s aero-optimized bodywork with a cascading grille and drag-reducing air curtains gets set off by numerous aggressive exterior styling details from a deeper front splitter to a highly functional rear spoiler. That in-your-face theme carries over to its equally bold cabin treatment. Highlighting the enhancements are supportive sport buckets, an exclusive, multifunction “N” steering wheel, unique gauges and instrumentation plus distinctive trim elements. Also on hand is a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, track timer, real-time engine output info and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

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