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Hot N variant the only Hyundai i30 fastback for Oz

Wait N see: Hyundai insiders who have seen the hot N version of the i30 fastback reckon its coupe-like shape is ideally suited to the high-performance variant’s hunkered-down, more aggressive stance.

Only flagship N version of Hyundai i30 fastback to reach Australia, expected in 2019

Hyundai logo14 Jul 2017

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

HYUNDAI will bring a sleek, coupe-styled five-door fastback version of the fire-breathing i30 N performance hatch to Australia, but mainstream versions of this new European-built bodystyle will remain off-limits Down Under.

The sleek i30 fastback was unveiled overnight in Germany, amid the fanfare surrounding the reveal of Hyundai’s highly anticipated hot hatch, which will arrive in Australian showrooms before the end of this year.

Hyundai Australia general manager of external affairs Bill Thomas confirmed to GoAuto that a fastback version of the i30 N will join the range and that it is “very much on our agenda” to bring it to this market.

“We are not sure of timing just yet but we are thinking possibly within a year or so,” he said.

The i30 N hatch will be initially available with just a six-speed manual gearbox while Hyundai finalises development of its eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, but Mr Thomas said timing of the i30 N fastback may align with availability of the hi-tech new wet-clutch transmission that will become available in 2019.

Combining its high-performance 202kW/353Nm turbocharged petrol engine, new eight-speed transmission and sleek fastback shape, the future i30 flagship could provide a more affordable alternative to the Audi S3 sedan, according to Mr Thomas.

“It’s quite an interesting bodystyle that gives us another point of appeal over the hatchback N car,” he said. “It’s yet another halo car and more of a sleeker coupe-style hot hatch.” Mainstream variants of the i30 fastback will roll out across Europe from early next year, sourced from Hyundai’s factory in the Czech Republic, which will also serve as global production base for all i30 N variants.

Mr Thomas described the fastback as “a European-built product aimed at Europe,” and explained that it will serve globally as a successor to three-door variants of the previous-generation i30.

“As a business case that car doesn’t make sense for us here in Australia and it’ s not viable for us unfortunately, but we are happy with the (five-door) hatch in combination with Veloster,” he said.

“We get our i30s exclusively from Korea. This makes a lot of sense in terms of exchange rate and shipping costs etc. The i30 N is (produced in) Czech Republic and is the only i30 that we will take from that factory.” The i30 fastback is 30mm lower and 115mm longer than the hatch, with suspension lowered by 5mm and stiffened by 15 per cent promising to lend it a dynamic edge and compensate for a likely reduction in cabin headroom.

Front-end styling is only subtly different to the hatch, with a reprofiled lower bumper section with defined splitter and curved, diagonal LED daytime running lights.

Side-on, markedly slimmer windows and a raked rear roofline lend the fastback a coupe-like silhouette.

From the rear, the sculpted new C-pillars become more apparent, housing new upswept rear quarterlight windows and sitting above tail-light clusters that resemble shorter versions of those fitted to an Elantra sedan.

The rear of the roof is almost dome-like, consistent with the curvature of the large rear windscreen that plunges toward the duck-tail integrated boot spoiler.

Hyundai Europe COO Thomas Schmid said the i30 fastback “makes premium design accessible for everyone”.

“The i30 Fastback is the first elegant five-door coupe to enter the compact segment, underlining our commitment to innovation and customer choice.” European customers will be offered a choice of 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engines plus a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.

In the five-door hatch, the N powertrain that will motivate Australian-delivered i30 fastbacks is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol produced in 184kW/353Nm and 202kW/353Nm states of tune, claimed to achieve respective 0-100km/h sprint times of 6.4 and 6.2 seconds.

The fastback is likely to be heavier, but if it comes with the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic this should enable it to at least match the manual hatch for acceleration.

Mr Thomas said the new transmission can handle high power and torque outputs as well as being capable of linking with an all-wheel drive system.

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