Hyundai’s new performance-oriented N Division has officially introduced its first car for sale. As we expected, it’s a hot hatch based on the Europe-market i30, a car that is sold in the United States as the Elantra GT. Sadly for the American hot-hatch market, though, this N won’t make it to our shores. Hyundai won’t introduce its first N-badged car in the U.S. until the next-generation Veloster arrives sometime next year.
Even so, we’re enticed by the GTI-fighting i30N’s specifications because of what it might portend for that U.S.-spec Veloster N. Under the hood is a direct-injected turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 271 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission delivers torque to the front wheels, and an electronic limited-slip differential is standard equipment. Launch control and automatic rev-matching capabilities are included, as are adaptive dampers, a variable exhaust, and a driving-mode selector with five settings.
The i30N also looks the part of a proper sport compact, with an attractive but not overwrought body kit that turns up the already attractive hatch’s aggression factor. We’re especially fond of the Performance Blue exterior color, which contrasts nicely with red accents on the front and rear bumpers and brake calipers. The tame interior doesn’t look too different from a standard i30’s, but it does feature sport seats with extra bolstering.
Hyundai plans to start selling this car in Europe and Korea by the end of this year. It’s a shame that this N won’t make it to the States. But, given that the next-generation Veloster is expected to share its platform with the i30, we anticipate that the eventual U.S.-market Veloster N will share most of the i30N’s componentry, including its engine and basic chassis tuning. Until then, we’re eagerly anticipating N’s stateside debut.