Hyundai targets GTI

Korean firm guns for VW Golf GTI with new i30 N

by DANIEL DEGASPERI

HYUNDAI’s N performance division debut and its first production hot hatchback will have a snap-cracklepop exhaust bark if a teaser of the i30 N is any indication. The South Korean giant is drip-feeding information about its Volkswagen Golf GTI rival, the latest video of which shows a manual prototype with a split-twin exhaust being spanked around a circuit, its bark falling somewhere between an Akropovic-equipped Megane RS 275 and AMG A45.

Another video shows an auto variant (more than likely using Hyundai’s seven-speed dual-clutcher from Veloster Turbo) indicating that N will please both purists and the populace with its production model.

The i30 N is being engineered by Albert Biermann, former BMW M vice-president for high performance development and maestro of previous M3 and M5, out of the company’s recently built Nurburgring test facility.

Yep, it seems this mob are serious.

Although the mules wear currentgen i30 clothing, the production version will wear the skin of the new i30 set for September’s Paris motor show. The N will likely follow at March’s Geneva motor show with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine now all but confirmed – Hyundai’s teaser-film quickly shows rig-test outputs rising to 265PS (198kW) and 310Nm before the video cuts away. Thanks to a new chassis, the i30 N will score independent rear suspension (replacing the i30 hatch’s torsion bar).

“Next year the N sub-brand will apply to a range of products, one of them will be i30,” Hyundai Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant confirmed to MOTOR. Pointing to an arrival in the second half of 2017, Grant said that locally tuned suspension will feature and the Golf GTI will be the target – so expect pricing in the $40K region.