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What does the i30 Sedan N mean for niche Fastback N?

Hyundai is yet to confirm the i30 Sedan N despite being spotted at Nurburgring

26 Oct 2020

FRESH footage has emerged showing Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) test pilots pummelling a heavily camouflaged i30 Sedan around the Nurburgring and cruising around the maze of roads surrounding the legendary track.

 

With a raucous soundtrack, big wheels, lightning fast gear changes and pumped up body features – including a fixed rear spoiler – this can almost only mean that the long-rumoured Elantra N (i30 Sedan N for us) has been given the green light.

 

Posted to the CarSpyMedia YouTube channel on October 22, the video features shots taken from all angles, including a few low-speed drive-bys as the car pulls away from a service station and potters around town.

 

While HMC Australia (HMCA) has traditionally made no secret about its ambition to offer as many N Performance models locally as possible, corporate communications general manager Bill Thomas would not be drawn into confirming the new hot sedan.

 

“We can’t confirm the existence or otherwise of an i30 Sedan N at this point, let alone talk about our chances of getting it in right hand drive, but we would certainly be interested in taking the vehicle if it is made available to us by our parent company,” he said.

 

According to Mr Thomas, an i30 Sedan N “would be an incredibly appealing and supremely capable high-performance small sedan and represent amazing value for money” however he declined to comment on what the Sedan’s potential launch could spell for the coupe-styled Fastback N.

 

“I can’t give you an answer on what it might mean hypothetically or otherwise at the moment … we tend not to speculate on sales numbers or future sales trends,” he said.

 

As GoAuto understands it, the Fastback N currently accounts for around 20 per cent of all Australian i30 N sales with customers drawn to its niche coupe styling and bigger cargo volume (compared to the hatch).

 

What remains to be seen however is if the Sedan N – if it makes it to Australia – will poach sales from its liftback sibling which to date, only has one direct rival in the form of the Skoda Octavia RS245.

 

It could well be that niche styling that saves the Fastback N from facing the axe as the arrival of the Sedan would provide HMCA with a three-pronged attack on the compact performance market in the ilk of the more premium Mercedes-Benz A35 (hatch/sedan) and CLA35 trio.

 

Coupled with the imminent arrival of the facelifted – and more powerful – i30 N hatch and Fastback N, HMCA could well mount a charge upmarket and hit Mercedes head-on, giving BMW and Audi a scare while it’s at it.

 

With the facelifted i30 N duo set to punch out 206kW/392Nm and the Sedan almost certain to score the same mill, the Germans would maintain a comfortable power advantage over the Korean challengers but lose out on price by more than $15,000.

 

Given the Fastback has been treated to the same comprehensive update as the hatch – due here in the first half of 2021 – it would be safe to assume its presence in the Australian market is secure for the time being with extra solace able to be drawn from HMCA’s favourite line explaining its plans for the N badge.

 

“We’ve made no secret of that fact that Hyundai Australia is keen to get our hands on as many N products as possible from Hyundai’s high-performance division,” Mr Thomas reiterated.

 

HMCA has already proven it plans to stick by that mantra with the N being the only i30 Fastback variant offered in Australia as well as recently confirming that the pint-sized i20 N is also headed Down Under despite the regular i20 also being absent from the marketplace.

 

As for official confirmation on the i30 Sedan N, the motoring world will just have to sit tight for the time being, however GoAuto expects some form of announcement to come mid-next year.

 

HMCA has sold 1382 Elantras so far this year ending September and 15,260 i30s, accounting for a combined 20.8 per cent share of the sub-$40,000 small car segment.


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