The Hyundai i30 N development car has completed the Nurburgring 24 hours endurance race in Germany this week, completing 91 laps and 2309.39 kilometres.
Finishing 90th in the overall rankings out of 159 competitors, the i30 N hot hatch's endurance effort marks another stage in its development ahead of a 2017 debut in the next-generation i30's skin.
Officially known as the i30 2.0L Turbo N, the heavily modified racing prototype is powered - as its name suggests - by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine.
Details for this mill have not been revealed, although reports suggest that outputs beyond 200kW could be on the cards. With 'regular' hot hatches debuting with more and more powerful engines each generation, there could be some credence to those whispers.
Other components, such as the suspension, shock absorbers, wheels, steering and body kit were all enhanced to meet racing regulations, but much of it will inform the setup of the final production model. Around 40 per cent of the development race car is all-new.
Albert Biermann, head of test and high performance development, said: “The endurance race at the Nurburgring is the toughest race in the world”.
“It’s the perfect environment for testing the resilience of our new turbocharged two-litre engine under extreme strain.”
In addition to the race’s contribution to the new N car’s development, Biermann said that the brand’s first dedicated performance model will be a jack-of-all-trades.
“We are on a very good way regarding the design of our first N vehicle,” he said.
“In the process of designing high-performance engines, the highest possible horsepower output is not the top priority.”
“Instead, the engineers focus on maximum driving pleasure and driving fun without compromising everyday usability,” he added.
Earlier this year, Biermann told CarAdvice that the first N-badged Hyundai would “be on the road in two years”, however it seems that the date could be brought forward, according to a new report from UK website Autocar.
In the article published this week, Autocar cites Biermann confirming that the i30 hatch will indeed be the first N performance model, and is scheduled for European launch sometime in 2017.
Autocar quotes Biermann saying that the car “will be affordable”, starting under 30,000 pounds ($60,915), and that the N division’s focus will be on “affordable performance”. Bear in mind that sub 30,000 pounds is relatively affordable in the UK, however in Australia an ‘affordable’ hot hatch would likely undercut the $50,000 mark.
Other details included in the report include confirmation that the i30 N will primarily be offered in front-wheel drive with a manual transmission. An automatic transmission and possibly an all-wheel drive version may follow.
The new i30 N is said to feature a limited-slip differential, performance brakes, heavily enhanced gearbox and a reworked exhaust system.
N-tuned Genesis models without the N badge
Biermann also said that the N division will develop performance powertrains for upcoming Genesis models, however they will not be N-badged. This points to possibly another badge family for the more luxury-focused Genesis brand.
“We will go different markets and regions with N,” he said.
“We will also develop high-performance cars for the Genesis brand but they won’t have the N badge. N is just the sub-label for Hyundai cars.”
The Hyundai N performance brand has been a long time coming, with first reports of the division’s start-up dating back to 2013.
Stay tuned for forthcoming Hyundai N updates.