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Less powerful Hyundai i30 N tune on the cards

Papers please: While Hyundai has already confirmed that the fastback version of its i30 (below) will receive the N treatment and land in Australian showrooms, the flagship Veloster N (left) has been denied due to lack of right-hand-drive production.

Fastback body style, dual-clutch auto also in pipeline for Hyundai Australia


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22 Mar 2018

THE less powerful version of Hyundai’s i30 N could come to Australia in the future as the car-maker plans the showroom arrival of the i30 Fastback N and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission option for 2019.

In overseas markets, the i30 N is available with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in two states of tune – either 184kW or 202kW in the ‘Performance’ version – but locally Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has opted to release just the flagship version at $39,990 before on-road costs.

Speaking to GoAuto at the local launch of the South Korean hot hatch, HMCA senior product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi said the lower tune would be re-evaluated for Australian market suitability down the track.

“Globally, there’s two states of performance, what Europe call a ‘standard’ car – 184kW, smaller brakes, no differential, smaller wheels – and then the car we have here,” he said.

“Right now we want to make sure every car we sell – every i30 N we sell – represents the most fun it could be possibly be.

“So right now, no ‘standard’ performance, but we’ll study it in the future, maybe when there is another body style, maybe when we have another transmission – maybe another body style like Fastback, maybe another transmission like our eight-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission) – that might prove an opportune time to bring that lower power (model).”

A lower-spec version of the i30 N could bring pricing down from $39,990 and would better position Hyundai’s hot hatch to take on the likes of the $37,490 Volkswagen Golf GTI Original.

Even with less power on tap, the i30 N would still outgun the aforementioned 169kW/350Nm Volkswagen Golf GTI, while coming close to the 184kW/360Nm Ford Focus ST.

However, one area where the Volkswagen has Hyundai beat at present is the availability of an automatic transmission – which accounts for 90 per cent of high-performing Golf GTI and R sales.

When asked if the lack of automatic transmission from launch would turn buyers off the Hyundai i30 N, Mr Tuitahi said: “It can’t hurt us because we’re new to this, we don’t have a reputation.

“We’re comfortable bringing in a manual only into the segment, even though it means it won’t sell as many cars as we would if we had a DCT, purely because a true hot hatch has a manual transmission and we had to make sure we did it properly from the get go in order to have acceptance from legitimate hot-hatch buyers.”

As previously reported, an eight-speed dual-wet-clutch automatic is currently being developed for the i30 N, but is not expected to arrive to market until late next year.

While still too early to tell if the i30 N will have the aftermarket support of other established hot hatches, Mr Tuitahi said Hyundai is working on a range of customisation and accessory options available from the factory for the track enthusiast.

“We’re looking for some genuine accessories, and there will be a reasonable offering at launch and we’ll look to see what we can do in future – so there’ll be opportunities for customisation,” he said.

“We’ve got some OZ wheels, some Pirelli Trofeo Rs, got some Pagid pads and we’re looking at some other things like fire extinguisher mount to help you with your weekend track days that require an extinguisher.

“We’re looking at some mild suspension options, like an adjustable stabiliser bar for the rear, and a couple of other things.”

Hyundai’s i30 N comes with a five-year warranty that also covers non-competitive, non-timed track use, even while fitted with stickier tyres.

Looking ahead to future N products, Mr Tuitahi could not confirm whether the incoming i30 N Fastback would receive the same local suspension tweaks as its hatchback sibling (see separate story), but hinted there could be a tuned version of some of Hyundai’s high-riding SUVs.

“(The) next N car will be Veloster – we won’t sell it here – but there will be other N models and N variants of existing models, definitely,” he said.

“Sure, I think there is a demand for it (N SUV), I think several Hyundai executives have been on the record previously that they would like to see something like a Kona N or a Tucson N, and I’m sure we could deliver the N experience in an SUV body.”

Hyundai’s i30 N – its first hot hatch and first product from its N performance division – hits Australian showrooms this month and has already racked up about 40 pre-orders out of a first-year allocation of 300 cars.

However, the car-maker warned that the i30 N has been selling above expectations since its launch in European markets last September, meaning demand could outstrip supply once launched.

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