With the ability to opt for an automatic transmission for the first time, Hyundai has broadened the appeal of its original and now improved hot hatch.
The facelifted 2021 Hyundai i30 N hot hatch has landed in Australia with a long list of incremental upgrades to improve performance both on and off the track.
Since it arrived in Australia in 2018, the i30 N has been sold exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission which has put it at a disadvantage to rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Renault Megane R.S. that offer a more popular automatic option but this has since changed with the recent facelift.
The i30 N continues to be offered in a choice of two grades with prices starting from $44,500 (before on-roads) adding an extra $3,100 over the outgoing model. Additionally, you’ll have to front up an extra $3,000 for the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic option.
Those who prefer the Fastback body style should get in early as Hyundai is bringing up to 500 to Australia on an order only basis.
Starting with the most obvious changes, the i30 N swaps in LED V-shaped headlights, a revised front grille and a more aggressive lower bumper trimmed in a contrasting black.
This darker theme continues along the new side skirts to the rear where we find similar treatment to the front with new LED taillights and enlarged twin exhaust pipes.
In a nod to Hyundai’s TCR touring car success and other sporting history, designers have fitted a glossy black rear spoiler with a triangle-shaped brake light.
Offering some performance benefits along with sharper looks are the new 19-inch alloy wheels which cut 14.4kg of unsprung mass and hide the sizable front brakes which have been enlarged from 345mm to 360mm discs.
With changes in line with the wider i30 range, the i30 N now features a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a wireless charger.
As standard, the i30 N gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED puddle lights and alloy sports pedals while the bucket seats themselves are trimmed in cloth.
Those stepping up to the top-spec i30 N Premium adds the new N Light Seats which are trimmed in a combination of Alcantara and leather and slice off 2.2kg of weight.
Hyundai also throws in a heated function for the front seats and steering wheel along with rear privacy glass, front parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers.
It’s worth pointing out that i30 N Premium buyers who opt for the manual are able to deselect the sunroof option to save $1,500 and lower the centre of mass but those who select the DCT will just have to put up with their glorious sky views.
The official verdict will have to wait for our review but Hyundai has given us enough reasons to think so.
For starters, the Hyundai has beefed up the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine which now produces 206kW of power – a notable 4kW increase over the old model.
More impressive is the torque, which has jumped to 392Nm after a significant 39Nm increase, with that peak figure picking up at 2,100 RPM and holding steady until it hits 4,700 RPM.
When this grunt finally hits the front wheels, the manual-equipped i30 N will rocket from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds – a 0.2-second improvement – while the slick new DCT will get there in just 5.4 seconds.
The increase in grunt is largely due to a redesigned turbocharger with a larger compressor and turbine, combined with a larger intercooler to keep temperatures down at the track.
Engineers have also given the suspension a number of tweaks including redesigned suspension geometry, dampers, more aggressive front camber and a 4.2 per cent increase in the rear spring rate.
Hyundai engineers have given the suspension a local suspension tune and claim the improvements have seen an increase in performance ride quality despite the increased spring rates.
As a hot hatch that’s likely to be used on a daily commute, the i30 N wisely builds on its safety pack with upgrades already fitted to the regular i30 range.
These include new additions such as rear-cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and lane following assist – though the first two items are only available on the DCT-equipped i30 Ns as the safety technology is incompatible with the stick shift models, Hyundai says.
Existing features such as AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, driver attention warning, rear parking sensors all carry over to the new model.
While the car industry as a whole is battling huge supply issues due to global chip shortages Hyundai stressed the i30 N is in plentiful supply for those who want to snap one up, and it’s on sale now.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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