Hyundai is putting the finishing touches on the updated i30N, testing in the German summer at the Nurburgring race circuit ahead of a likely showroom arrival in Australia early next year.
As has been reported, the update to Hyundai’s first ever hot hatch will coincide with the arrival of the current model’s midlife facelift.
The regular Hyundai i30 range will get styling changes inside and out later this year, with the performance version due to follow at the start of 2021. (See our story on the facelift of the regular Hyundai i30 range here.)
In addition to the arrival of an optional eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission (pictured below) – sold alongside the six speed manual – CarAdvice understands the 2021 Hyundai i30N will also come in for some steering and suspension changes as well as a modest power bump.
Last year, the head of Hyundai performance vehicles, Albert Biermann, who is now in charge of all product development, told a gathering of Australian media at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show the company would "crank a little bit more power out of it" when the eight-speed auto arrives.
In addition to a sharper front end appearance that will adopt sleeker headlights from the rest of the facelifted Hyundai i30 range, redesigned bumpers and wheels, and larger exhaust tips, the 2021 Hyundai i30N is expected to come with a larger infotainment screen, which is also the gateway to the vehicle’s performance settings.
Unlike most other hot hatches, the Hyundai i30N allows drivers to mix and match among soft and hardcore settings.
CarAdvice has been told the current Hyundai i30N hatchback adopted the more forgiving suspension settings – but not the revised steering – from the Hyundai i30N Fastback as a running change over the past few months. It is anticipated there may be further refinements on the way with the updated model.
Given that a fleet of 2021 Hyundai i30N hatchbacks have been spotted testing at the Nurburgring, we’re guessing it’s a significant overhaul designed to improve comfort on the road and performance around a race track.
In the meantime, the current Hyundai i30N continues to sell better than expected for the brand in Australia, even though it is a manual-only proposition.
Sales of the Hyundai i30N in Australia are understood to be almost double what the brand initially forecast.
The arrival of an automatic option is expected to broaden its appeal. The recently released Ford Focus ST is available with the option of an automatic for the first time, and our testing has shown it is slightly quicker in the 0 to 100kmh dash than the manual version.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is now an automatic-only proposition, however even when a manual was offered, the stick shift only accounted for about 10 per cent of sales.
In the meantime, here is a video of a small fleet of Hyundai i30N hot hatches testing at the Nurburgring. At about the 1:50 mark you can hear the exhaust growl between shifts on what sounds like the new twin-clutch automatic.
The speculative rendering at the top of this article is by CarAdvice contributor, Alex Misoyannis.