Hyundai is actively developing an all-wheel drive version of the popular i30 N hot hatch, the company’s Australian division has confirmed to Cars Guide.
According to Hyundai Australia public relations manager Guido Schenken, the South Korean car manufacturer has envisioned an all-wheel drive i30 N from the moment the project started. Hyundai N boss Albert Biermann has previously said that all-wheel drive was likely to prove to be a future focus for the manufacturer.
A consultant working with Hyundai Australia on local suspension tuning and motorsport programs, Geoff Fear, says that on a visit to the Hyundai N Performance facility near Seoul, all-wheel drive remained a priority within the company.
Ditching the front-wheel drive system of the current i30 N would also allow the brand to compete with the upper echelon of vehicles in the hot hatch market, including the ever-popular VW Golf R and Ford Focus RS. However, it wouldn’t simply be a matter of installing an all-wheel drive system.
In its current Performance Package form, the Hyundai i30 N’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumps out 271 hp. While that’s enough for a front-wheel drive hot hatch competing with the Honda Civic Type R and VW Golf GTI, it’s not adequate to rival the existing AWD players. Some serious engine work would be needed, perhaps enough to lift output close to the 350 hp mark.
Unfortunately, it remains unclear when an all-wheel drive Hyundai i30 N model could launch, but we would expect such a model to arrive within the next couple of years.