These latest spy shots suggest that Hyundai’s high-performance “N” sub-brand is finally putting its hands on a production model based on the i30 compact hatch.
Hyundai introduced us to its “N” division at the end of 2013 before using the badge on its World Rally Championship competitor based on the i20, with company officials hinting at the time that the sub-compact would be its first performance model to be offered to the public – something that has yet to happen.
However, in an interview with UK magazine Autocar earlier this month, Hyundai’s World Rally Championship chief, Michel Nandan, said that the bigger i30 will “spearhead the introduction of N division”.
Fast forward to this week, and our scoop photographers caught what is believed to be a test mule for the i30 N performance model based on the pre-facelift version of Hyundai’s compact car near the brand’s Nürburgring facility in Germany.
Some tell-tale signs that there’s something going on with this mule are the lowered suspension, bigger brakes with red calipers, a deep front spoiler, and if you take a look inside, an extra set of gauges placed on top of the centre stack.
Even though it would seem more logical for the Koreans to kick off the “N” brand by competing against the Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI, the British publication reported that the i30 N’s primary targets will be the highest performing hatchbacks in the segment, including the 296hp VW Golf R, 345hp Ford Focus RS and 306hp Honda Civic Type R.
If true, this means the Hyundai would have at least 300 horses under the hood, but also that there would be a huge power gap with the current 183hp i30 Turbo (read our test drive here). One explanation could be that Hyundai may actually offer two levels of performance for the N cars, much like Subaru does with its WRX and WRX STI models.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops