The 2021 Hyundai i20 N covers have come off ahead of its Australian showroom arrival in the first half of next year.
Price is yet to be announced but early estimates position it between $30,000 and $35,000.
The official photos reveal the Hyundai i20 N has adopted much of the i20 N-Line’s styling cues, but with red accents on the body kit, aero fins in the lower section of the rear bumper, and a high-mounted rear wing.
As revealed earlier, the Hyundai i20 N is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine (150kW/275Nm) paired to a six-speed manual, and a mechanical limited-slip front differential.
This compares to the Ford Fiesta ST with an output of 147kW/290Nm from its turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder, the VW Polo GTI with an output of 147kW/320Nm from its turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder, and the Suzuki Swift Sport with an output of 103kW/230Nm from its turbo 1.4-litre four-cylinder.
Preliminary power-to-weight figures indicate the Hyundai i20 N has an output of 126kW per tonne, versus the VW Polo GTI (114kW per tonne), Ford Fiesta ST (123kW per tonne), and Suzuki Swift Sport (106kW per tonne). However, this is a guide only as we need to determine the weight categories are like-for-like.
As with the Ford Fiesta ST, the Hyundai i20 N is a manual-only proposition. The VW Polo GTI is available only with an automatic transmission, and the Suzuki Swift Sport is available with six-speed manual or six-speed auto.
The 2021 Hyundai i20 Nwill be the sole representative of the i20 range in Australia in the same way the Ford Fiesta ST is now the only Fiesta offering locally.
This is because rising costs have increased prices of city cars and a number of manufacturers have elected to vacate the segment or only offer models that can sell at a price premium.
The 0 to 100kmh performance claim for the Hyundai i20 N of 6.7 seconds matches the acceleration claim for the VW Polo GTI with six-speed twin-clutch auto.
Although we have track tested an early prototype, the acceleration time is yet to be verified as the Hyundai i20 N is not yet available for media review globally.
Our drive impressions based on an early prototype track test can be found here.
There will be six colour choices: sky blue, dark metallic blue, silver, gold, white and black.
In Europe, all 2021 Hyundai i20 N models will be available with the extra cost option of a black roof, or finished in one body colour.
The Hyundai i20 N front brakes have single piston floating calipers painted red (as per the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI), however they clamp a larger disc and the pads have a larger swept area than its rivals.
For the tech heads, the Hyundai i20 N’s 320mm front brake discs compare to the Ford Fiesta ST (278mm), VW Polo GTI (310mm), and Suzuki Swift Sport (285mm).
As with the bigger Hyundai i30N hot hatch – which from early next year will arrive with a facelift and the option of an eight-speed twin-clutch auto – the Hyundai i20 N has a number of drive modes, accessed via the infotainment system and a button on the steering wheel.
Five drive modes adjust throttle response, steering feel, exhaust note, and stability control settings, but the suspension is not adjustable (unlike the Hyundai i30N).
Independent of the preset modes, the stability control can be set to ‘on’, ‘sport’ and ‘off’.
The Hyundai i20 N has launch control and, uniquely among these peers, rev-matching technology on downshifts.
An electronic sound generator works in conjunction with variable muffler modes to create more or less noise.
Hyundai says the turbocharged 1.6-litre pumps out peak torque between 1750 and 4500rpm – across the middle of the power band – and peak power kicks in between 5500 and 6000rpm.
Hyundai says the engine has been specifically tuned for the i20 N, with “an exclusive turbo system which is cooled by an intercooler and the water circulation of the engine”.
“A 350-bar high-pressure injection rail provides for fuel atomization, a faster engine response, as well as a more efficient mixture preparation,” says Hyundai’s briefing notes.
This version of the turbo 1.6-litre uses Hyundai’s new Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology “to further optimise fuel efficiency”.
“The CVVD regulates the duration of valve opening and closing according to driving conditions, achieving a boost in performance and three per cent improvement in fuel efficiency,” says the Hyundai bulletin.
The company says the six-speed manual has been reinforced to handle the peak power and torque and higher engine revs.
The 18-inch lightweight alloys wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres developed to specifically match the suspension tune for the i20 N and have a unique ‘HN’ code on the sidewall to denote Hyundai’s N division.
Extensive testing on Germany’s Nurburgring revealed a need to strengthen the body in 12 places to improve torsional rigidity and overall chassis balance.
While noting the Hyundai i20 N has a rear torsion beam (as does the Ford Fiesta ST), the Hyundai bulletin said front suspension has “reinforced front domes and knuckles with adjusted geometry”.
“This includes increased camber for better traction and five fixation points for the wheel as well as a new anti-roll bar, new springs and shock absorbers,” the Hyundai bulletin said.
“The all-new N Power Sense Axle at the front combined with a Dual Coupled Torsion Beam Axle (CTBA) at the rear provide higher stiffness for improved ride and handling performance.”
The power steering is electric but it is a column-mounted system, for improved road feel.
To meet the latest safety standards, the Hyundai i20 N comes with autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, bling spot warning, speed sign recognition and intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, a rear view camera, and rear parking sensors.
Inside, the Hyundai i20 N gains sports seats and black roof lining, a widescreen digital dash display, and a 10.25-inch high resolution infotainment screen with Apple Car Play, Android Auto and embed navigation.
Images of the seats were not supplied as this article was published, but we will update the story if images become available.
Exact timing of both the Hyundai i30N (sourced from the Czech Republic) and the Hyundai i20 N (sourced from Turkey) is yet to be revealed. Estimates provided so far indicate both models are due in the first half of 2020.
Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas said the i20 N represents a new entry point to the brand’s performance cars.
“We welcome all additions to the Hyundai N range and this is very far from the last we’ll see – but it is particularly exciting, representing as it does the Hyundai N take on one of the classic performance car categories of all time,” said Mr Thomas.
“Cars don’t get much more fun than diminutive hot hatches and we are confident this will be one of the best of the breed.”
For more details on the new Hyundai i20 N, catch our prototype drive review and other links below.