Not that it could have upstaged the new i30 N – yet – but the 2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback has been unveiled at the same event in Germany tonight.
Spied testing in recent months with a heavy layer of camouflage, the Fastback’s profile was nonetheless clear. Now, for the first time, we see the new i30 offshoot’s tapered design in full.
“The i30 Fastback is the first elegant five-door coupe to enter the compact segment, underlining our commitment to innovation and customer choice,” Hyundai Europe chief operating officer Thomas A Schmid said at the event.
An Australian debut for the regular i30 Fastback range is considered unlikely, but the still to be revealed N version is a likely shoo-in for our market. More on that, though, towards the end of this article.
The i30 Fastback’s front-end styling is largely identical to its i30 hatch sibling, with a new front bumper design standing out as the main styling difference.
Moving back through the profile, the i30 Fastback shows a much deeper character line along the top of the doors, below a tapered roofline and a Volvo-like rear quarter-window design.
The sloping D-pillar and liftback hatch terminate at a tall integrated boot lip that wraps back tightly upon itself before dropping off between the unique tail lamps and a more streamlined rump.
The i30 Fastback is 30mm shorter in height than the hatch it joins, all of it in the glasshouse – so expect compromised headroom inside. Storage may be greater, however, thanks to the additional 115mm of body behind the rear wheels when compared to the hatch.
The i30 Fastback is also unlikely to imperil the Elantra in any markets where the two will be offered together, with the latter a more practical – if still somewhat coupe-shaped – slightly larger and likely more affordable sedan alternative to the style-focused Fastback.
The Elantra is 1435mm tall and 4570mm long overall, riding on a 2700mm wheelbase. The i30 Fastback, although close, is nonetheless smaller at 1425mm tall, 4455mm long and rides on the same 2650mm wheelbase of the i30 hatch.
N hatch hero aside, the Fastback should also prove to be the sportier choice in the overall i30 range, with 5mm lower springs and a 15 per cent increase in stiffness.
Although, with tonight’s press release focused on the European specification, Australia’s localised suspension tune – particular in the SR hatch – might actually prove to outdo the chassis design described here.
An Australian debut for the i30 Fastback looks unlikely, the company’s local arm has told us tonight, but those who like the look of this new variant needn’t give up hope completely.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Hyundai Australia communications manager Bill Thomas said that with the i30 Fastback’s production schedule set for the Czech Republic, the company doesn’t expect to be able to put together a workable business case for any of the regular grocery-getter models.
We we do expect to see the eventual N version here, however, with Hyundai Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant telling CarAdvice in May that the N car “is locked in”. That position has been changed today to “likely”, but the company appears positive.
NOTE: Communications with Hyundai last night had suggested we would see no versions of the i30 Fastback in Australia. The company has since clarified its position, declaring the i30 N Fastback “likely”.