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Future models - Hyundai - i30 - N Fastback

Hyundai i30 N coupe confirmed

Fast love: A three-door coupe/fastback version of the i30 N is locked in and will take some styling cues from the wild RN30 concept (left).

Five-door fastback version of i30 N hot-hatchback gets Hyundai green flag

Hyundai logo3 May 2017

By DANIEL DeGASPERI

HYUNDAI Motor Europe (HME) chief designer Thomas Burkle has confirmed that the company will produce a five-door coupe “fastback” version of the forthcoming i30 N five-door hot-hatch, set to debut by mid-2018.

Speaking at the national media launch of the third-generation Hyundai i30 in southern New South Wales this week, German-born and Russelsheim-based Mr Burkle said: “We have the N version of i30 coming … the hatchback … (and) a coupe version will also come as an N.

“The N version is a highlight, then the fastback N which another highlight in that direction,” he added.

“The fastback version, it’s mainly a difference in proportion, (the hatch) is more oriented to family and the fastback is more coupe so it has a lower profile, more-so elegant/sporty. I cannot speak too much about it because it’s still behind the curtains, but it will be a sensational car definitely.

“(It) will add another interesting aspect to the PD (i30) family, because we are quite unique in the market to go for this (fastback) variant and especially also to speak about the SR now which is available, (and) the N version.”

Mr Burkle acknowledged that the hot hatchback is “a very important segment in Australia, the joy of driving, the joy of design”.

Among performance hatches, only the just discontinued Holden Astra VXR and the outgoing Renault Sport Megane utilised a three-door coupe-style design, although the next Megane RS will be five-door-only.

Most variants of the Golf GTI, as well as the Ford Focus ST/RS, forthcoming Honda Civic Type R and Peugeot 308 GTi all include back doors.

Mr Burkle explained the reasoning behind ditching the three-door previous-generation GD i30 for a swoopier, coupe-style version for the new-gen FD model.

“In the past the GD (i30) three-door didn’t get a lot of volume, and therefore we were thinking to have instead of the traditional three-door a more exciting product,” he admitted.

“We came up with the idea of the fastback, which is very unique in this segment.

“We look at the market and we see Mercedes how extreme they go with the designs, we look at cars like a Porsche Panamera and all of this and we also realise that a lot of customers go down, step down in the more compact size – so why not offer more variety, more excitement in that segment? That was the idea.

“I think we will have quite a nice range of cars, and a lot of singles drive i30 as well, and maybe they don’t need the space but they are excited of the shape. Remember in the past we had the Hyundai Coupe, the Hyundai Coupe disappeared but it had a lot of people who loved that car.

“So we look at our own history as well and think how we can bring some more excitement to the brand.”

The i30 N will debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, while Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is hopeful of a late-2017 launch for its Volkswagen Golf GTI rival that will be available in 184kW and 202kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder trim, the latter with a limited-slip differential and both coming only with six-speed manual transmission for now.

However, early next year the fastback will arrive, with an i30 N fastback to follow mid-year, according to Mr Burkle. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will also be added to the adaptive suspension-equipped, multi-driver-mode Hyundai hot-hatch breed from the following year.

Mr Burkle further confirmed that several design cues will translate from the 300kW Hyundai RN30 concept to the production i30 N, including the light blue hue that “will be the launch colour for the N i30”.

On a PowerPoint presentation he showed a silhouette of the five-door i30 N set to be revealed by September, which showed a prominent link to the high-deck, outwardly protruding rear spoiler shown of the RN30 concept.

Asked if this will directly translate to the production model, Mr Burkle said: “Yes, for example normally the spoiler is just this (short) part but aerodynamically this is also important because the air stream should have been clear, it should jump off the car and not create turbulences. The sharp edge is continuing around and it also gives a lot of character to the car.

“This is the silhouette of the hatchback,” he stated.

HME poached Mr Burkle from BMW in 2005, and he continues to be based in the company’s technical centre in Russelsheim, Germany. Prior to his appointment he was in charge of 3 Series and 6 Series design among other models.

HME also nabbed i30 N chief engineer Albert Biermann from BMW’s M division, the decision of which Mr Burkle opined: “I’m very proud that Albert Biemann joined our company and he’s very active on the N version.

“The fun to drive aspect is something new to many (Hyundai) customers I think, and the joyful design should be complemented with joyful driving,” he added.

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