The 205kW Hyundai i30 hot hatch – to arrive in Australia from about November – will eventually be joined by a sleeker five-door fastback version in Australia.
The sportier body style, which vaguely echoes the Audi A5 Sportback, will give Hyundai a point of difference in the affordable hot hatch stakes when it arrives, probably some time in 2018.
The ‘four-door coupe’ version of the i30 is clearly an attempt to woo younger buyers to the brand’s volume staple, in lieu of the axed three-door option that has been removed to give the all-new MY18 Veloster breathing space.
Pictured: Regular i30 fastback, not the N version
Whether the i30 fastback comes to Australia in lower grades such as the SR or Active remains to be seen, given it’ll need to be sourced out of Europe, and therefore become more expensive. Just like the wagon.
“It’s hard to know, we are certainly studying all configurations and want consideration in them all, anything off i30 is gold for us. The N version is locked in,” Hyundai Australia COO Scott Grant told us.
We understand the i30 N fastback will use the same mechanicals as the i30 N hot hatch, which is poised to shake up a market defined by the Volkswagen Golf GTI/R, Ford Focus ST/RS and Renault Megane GT/RS.
The front-wheel drive i30 N will debut with two models: a 250hp (186kW) model and a 275hp (205kW) performance package variant.
The car will also debut Hyundai’s first ‘E-LSD’ system, an electronically-controlled mechanical limited-slip front differential.
The higher-output model will likely be offered with a firmer suspension tune and a track oriented setup, as we heard from Biermann last year.
N models will feature unique front and rear elements, along with a larger boot mounted spoiler and side skirts. Unique wheels will round out the package.
The interior comes with upgraded seats that feature extending bolsters and a new steering wheel that offers switchable drive modes. N models appear to also get quad-exhaust pipes and a unique rear diffuser.
It appears that N models will initially launch with a six-speed manual transmission only, to be followed by an eight-speed wet dual-clutch shifter from 2019.
Hyundai Motor has its own 3600 square metre testing centre at the Nürburgring. The technical team based in Germany takes advantage of the Nordschleife’s 73 corners, gradients of up to 17 per cent and a difference in altitude of 300 metres.