As promised, the first of Hyundai’s new family of high-performance N models got its global preview in Paris in the form of the absolutely stunning RN30 Concept. Based on a 3-door hatch version of the next-gen i30 also being unveiled in the City of Lights, the RN30 Concept takes its game to a level that surprised even many of its biggest fans, mixing serious race-car style with a killer 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that serves up 375 horsepower and a heady 333 lb-ft of torque.

Born to be wild – and fast

At the reveal, Albert Biermann, Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development for Hyundai Motor, said: “RN30 embodies the concept of a strong, high-performance car that brings dynamic, sporty driving. Soon to evolve into our first N model, the RN30 is inspired by our passion to provide a high-performance car that everybody can enjoy effortlessly. We have drawn on our technological expertise – honed through our motorsport successes – to deliver emotional delight through an engaging blend of performance and control, the goal Hyundai’s N strives to achieve in future performance models.”

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A collaborative effort between Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center and Hyundai Motor’s Performance Development & High Performance Vehicle Division, the RN30 Concept showcases a wide range of tech tricks to amp-up its exhilarative potential. The engine, which features a bounty of forged internals to better withstand the added stress, is fed by a bigger turbo unit and sends motive force to all four wheels through a dual-clutch automatic transmission, while an electronic limited slip differential helps maximize traction. In addition to an Electronic Variable Exhaust system that adds its own measure of aural excitement to the mix, the RN30 Concept also features a rev-matching system.

Notably lower and wider than the standard Hyundai i30, the RN30 Concept has a seriously aggressive character that runs from its extended front splitter to its prominent rear spoiler and lower diffuser. The well-calculated lines and multiple ports, ducts and vents ensure the RN30 Concept can efficiently slice through the air while keeping all of its mechanical bits operating in a safe temperature range. The design team worked hard to manage both weight and balance of this road rocket, making extensive use of a new high-performance plastic co-developed with BASF in place of more costly carbon fiber wherever possible, and figuring new ways to effectively lower the car’s overall center of gravity to bolster handling and improve acceleration.

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Inside, the RN30 Concept’s driver-centric cabin features a full roll cage, racing-style multifunction steering wheel and a form-fitting lightweight bucket seat. Also in place is a pair of image-stabilizing gimbal-mounted cameras – one on each A-pillar – along with an external fixed camera attached to the center fin on the roof. Hyundai says these will allow the driver to create professional-looking racing footage that can be shared with friends.

On sale next year in some markets, the production version of the RN30 Concept will be called the i30N. While this volume-built street variant may end up being a bit tamer than the one-off showcar, it still promises to be one impressive piece. Sadly, our sources indicate that while Hyundai N models will indeed be coming to America, the first one is not expected to arrive here until 2018.

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