Hyundai more than catered for the bare-arsed would-be racetrack tyros with the i30 N hot hatch.
Now the South Korean automobile manufacturer has turned its attention to the ‘driver of a certain age’ with a sedan version.
Hyundai’s first dip in the sports sedan segment, the latest tech and creature comforts go hand in glove in the i30 Sedan N with surprising alacrity, without losing the hot hatch experience.
And, by all accounts, Hyundai’s debutant is on the way to becoming a segment icon.
Not to be confused with the i30 Sedan N-Line, the N is an out-and-out sports sedan to be compared with similar European ‘hotties’ — unlike the i30 N-line whose additions are basically cosmetic.
The N-Line manual sedan comes to market starting at less than $30k, plus on-roads, while the top-of-the range i30 Sedan N Premium auto tips the scales at a little over $50,000. The latter was on test.
What’s it cost?
While undeniably sculpted with an N sports body kit to earmark its high-performance pedigree from all angles, the i30 Sedan N shows its most exciting view from behind, that most likely being other road users’ first glimpse of the car as it accelerates past ‘mere mortal’ vehicles.
Not that the rest of the design elements don’t stand out from the crowd with a bold front bumper and N diffuser, triangular rear fog lamp, full-width tail-light strip and boot-mounted spoiler, plus bespoke 19-inch alloy wheels with N-branded calipers peeking out from behind dark matt-ish spokes.
There’s plenty there to please the performance car fan.
It has a selection of creases and curves, while side sills reduce drag and improve air flow.
The rear wing and diffuser manage downforce at high speed and on the track, front air intakes cool the brakes during repeated hard use.
Nothing is surplus to requirements.
While the i30 Sedan N-Line makes do with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the N jumps up to a larger high performance 2.0-litre turbo four.
On offer are either a six-speed manual or eight-speed DCT automatic transmission.
The all-new i30 Sedan N comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There’s access to music, podcasts and connectivity apps.
Wireless smartphone charging comes standard.
Sound comes from seven high-fidelity speakers, plus a separate subwoofer and a Bose audio for a rich sound.
The i30 Sedan N has the Hyundai SmartSense Advanced Drivers Assistance System developed to help avoid imminent danger on the road.
Included are blind spot rear and forward collision avoidance, lane keeping and following assist, and high beam assist.
It has driver attention warning, safe exit assist, rear-seat occupation alert and rear cross-traffic avoidance.
What’s it go like?
A driver-focused cabin continues the N(ness) with race-inspired seats, wrapped in black leather topped off by stitched N logos, firmly offering lateral support to front occupants during enthusiastic cornering.
The driver’s seat is height and 10-way power adjustable, which includes two-way lumbar support.
There are heated steering wheel and front seats for comfort and convenience.
Storage is good in the centre console area, as well as door pockets, cup and bottle slots.
The boot has up to 464 litres of practical space compared to 381 litres in the hatch.
It’s hands-free opening with the key fob.
The spare is a space-saver.
With the high performance engine stumping up 392Nm of torque between 2100 and 4700 rpm, plus 206 kW of peak power from 5500 to 6000 revs, there’s plenty for the enthusiastic driver to play with.
An eight-speed wet double-clutch automatic N transmission sends the power package to the front wheels.
There is the no-cost option of a six-speed manual.
Fuel consumption of 8.2L/100km is claimed for the combined cycle.
The test vehicle with eight-speed DCT recorded 8.7L/100km in mixed driving conditions.
Ride and handling are under the direction of an integrated drive axle (a first for Hyundai) that is made up of drive shaft, wheel hub and bearing, with a weight saving of 1.7 kg.
The result is added lateral g-force exhilaration during swift cornering.
With drive modes it becomes a choice between Normal, Eco, Sport and Smart, the last determining driving habits by the position of the brake pedal and the operation of the steering wheel, then tailoring such elements as shift pattern and engine torque to suit.
Special to the ‘N’ is an aptly named N Grin Control System, N Performance Driving Data System and various track maps with lap timer.
Just set the track, cross the start line and lap times are automatically recorded as you go.
Hyundai’s five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty is part of the Sedan N package, along with capped-price servicing at $1005 for the first three years and $1675 for the first five years.
What we like?
Targeted at older buyer
Plenty to please the performance car fan
Nothing is surplus to requirements
Bose audio for a rich sound
What we don’t like?
I’ll get back to you
The bottom line?
For those turning their back on the Hyundai i30 hot hatch in search of something more in keeping with becoming ‘grown up’, the i30 Sedan N is equally at home on city streets as it is on the race circuit and, for good measure, it has a ‘proper boot’.