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Hyundai begins rapid expansion of N line-up

Australia a top-three global market for hot Hyundais as i30 N range doubles in size

17 Aug 2021

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has begun the second phase of expanding its N performance line-up with the facelifted i30 N range arriving in two body styles – and a third to follow in Q4 – in what could be a precursor to having N variants span much of Hyundai’s range.


The original i30 N has been quite a success for Hyundai. Since its mid-2017 unveiling, around 54,000 have been sold globally and Australia is on the sales podium – a position that’s expected to improve now that an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission has become available.


Hyundai’s previous manual-only i30 N accounted for around 2700 sales from its February 2018 launch until production of the pre-update model finished in September last year, with very limited supply since then. Prior to that, Australia was the world’s second-biggest market for the i30 N behind Germany and ahead of Britain.


With the facelifted i30 N hatch line-up of five variants – N manual and DCT, N Premium manual, and sunroof-equipped N Premium manual and DCT – bolstered by a facelifted i30 Fastback N manual and DCT for a limited time (up to 500 units), HMCA expects Australia to regain its position behind Germany in the N rankings while expanding sales volumes at home.


Speaking to GoAutovia web link, HMCA product planning manager Tim Rodgers said the company expected dual-clutch i30 N variants to account for “somewhere in the 70 per cent range” of sales.


“One of the parts to remember is that we’re introducing Kona N DCT at the same time, so that’ll kind of muddled the numbers for us a bit,” said Mr Rodgers.


“We’re not going to be able to do a true apples-to-apples comparison, but definitely, we’re anticipating an increase in sales for sure.”


HMCA general manager of product planning Andrew Tuitahi added that although the company would not talk about sales targets, he was confident that “growth will be significant”. 


“That’s purely because we’re adding in quite a portfolio of N cars once you throw a small SUV, a small performance sedan, a mini hot-hatch into the mix. I think across those N cars we'll several hundred per cent growth.”


The updated and expanded i30 N hatch and Fastback range will be followed almost immediately by the Kona N small SUV – sharing the i30 N’s refreshed drivetrain and new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission – and in the fourth quarter of 2021, the smaller manual-only i20 N hot-hatch and a dual-clutch-only i30 Sedan N.


As for what the future holds, details are scarce, though speaking to Australian motoring media via web link, Mr Tuitahi alluded to the fact that an electric Ioniq 5 N wouldn’t be out of the question.


“N’s building and it’s building slowly over time,” said Mr Tuitahi. “We’re introducing the second phase now and it would make sense for the third phase to see some form of electrification.


“We’re confident that by the time those cars get here, customers will be familiar with what N means, what it offers, and they’ll definitely be comfortable spending the money it takes to get into a Hyundai N with some form of electrification.”


The sales fortunes of the i30 N should further improve when the Sedan N launches in the fourth quarter of 2021, though its appearance will be at the expense of the limited-run MY21 Fastback N, at least in the short term.


“We don’t have any intention of making (the Fastback N) a permanent part of the line-up,” said Mr Tuitahi.


“Our initial announcement of the updated i30 N excluded the Fastback but there was significant feedback from dealers, customers through our customer call centre, and in the comments on the articles that you guys wrote, a lot of customers were interested in that car, so we decided to bring it back for a small run.


“But we do see some kind of crossover between that car and the i30 Sedan N, so we just need to see how we can manage having both of those cars in market – whether it’s sporadically or not at all.”


As for the MY21 i30 N hatchback model line-up, it has been curated to cover all bases, including an HMCA-specified, mid-ranking i30 N Premium manual with all the new go-fast goodies (such as Alcantara and leather lightweight sports bucket seats) but without a rigidity-sapping sunroof.


Priced at $47,500 before on-road costs, the N Premium manual is positioned as the driver-focused, purist option. 


Starting at $44,500 before on-roads, all Australian i30 N models now include new forged-alloy 19-inch wheels that save a claimed 14.4kg in unsprung mass, bigger 360mm front brakes, a larger 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen, keyless entry/start, LED courtesy and puddle lights, power-folding exterior mirrors, wireless phone charging, blind-spot monitoring and lane-following assist. 


Standard inclusions carried over from the previous model include an electro-mechanical limited-slip differential, adaptive dampers, an active variable exhaust system with sound intensity controlled via settings in the N Drive Mode System, and an N Performance Driving Data System for recording acceleration and lap times.


2022 Hyundai i30 N pricing*

i30 N $44,500
i30 N (a) $47,500
i30 N Premium  $47,500
i30 Fastback N $49,000
i30 N Premium + sunroof $49,900
i30 N Premium + sunroof (a) $52,000
i30 Fastback N (a) $52,000

*Excludes on-road costs

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