Category Archives: Features

More Details Emerge on Hyundai’s N Performance Sub-Brand

Hyundai i30 N prototype

While a specific roadmap for Hyundai’s upcoming high-performance N Division remains a closely guarded secret, especially as it pertains to the U.S. market, our first look at the 2018 Hyundai Kona crossover in South Korea also gave us the opportunity to receive a few more lines of information on the project, and to read between them.

Firstly, the hatchback sold as the i30 in Europe and Korea, which is essentially our 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, will be the first N-branded model when it debuts at the Frankfurt auto show in September. This, we knew before. However, Albert Biermann, N-Division boss and overall head of Hyundai’s vehicle testing and high-performance development, confirmed for us that that car will not see American soil, saying only that the U.S. will get its own model sometime next year, and that it may be an even wilder creation.

Hyundai i30 N prototype

“We promise you will be happy (with it),” he told a gaggle of international journalists.

From that we can only assume he’s referencing the Hyundai Veloster, seeing that the funky three-door hatch is due for a redesign on the i30/Elantra’s front-wheel-drive platform, and we’ve already spied it testing in camouflaged N getup. Although Biermann stonewalled us on any further questions regarding such a vehicle, its similarities with the i30 make it a sensible and tantalizing move.

From what we know about the i30 N, a Volkswagen GTI-hunting Veloster would be propelled by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making about 250 horsepower in base trim and around 280 with an optional performance package. A six-speed manual would be the only transmission choice, although Biermann doesn’t rule out N-tuned dual-clutch automatics down the road. Other key bits would include a track-capable suspension setup, high-performance summer tires, a throaty performance exhaust, body-hugging sport seats, and an optional electronic limited-slip differential. As with the i30 N, this Veloster also would feature upgraded performance brakes, just not fancy Brembo units so as to keep costs reasonable. A competitive bang-for-the-buck with a focus “not on the finish line but how you get there” will be a hallmark of future N cars, Biermann told us.

Hyundai i30 N prototype

That last bit is interesting considering that a pair of pre-production i30 Ns fared impressively well in a 24-hour race at the famed Nürburgring—finishing fourth and ninth out of twelve in their near-production class (and 50th and 95th overall, out of 160)—and that Hyundai will compete in European touring car race series with it next year. Perhaps Honda’s introduction of the 306-hp Civic Type R has produced some trepidation ahead of the N brand’s big debut.

Hyundai had a couple of camo’d prototype i30 Ns on hand for brief test drives around the handling course at its Namyang proving grounds. But the press-handlers declined to let the American journalists in attendance join the throngs of international folks in getting a chance to see firsthand how the car behaves on a race track, so we still haven’t driven one.

  • All-New Hyundai i30: A Euro Hatch Likely to Spawn Next-Gen Elantra GT
  • 2017 Honda Civic Type R: The new Type R only looks like a tragic tuner car
  • Hyundai Elantra Looks Set to Be First Model to Get “N” Performance Treatment

There was little justification for this exclusion; even a brief sampling of the company’s first dedicated performance car would have enlightened us on how far the company as a whole has come in the ride-and-handling department, as well as how excited we should be for a hot-rod Veloster. As it is, we remain cautiously optimistic, and hope we’ll have more to go on once the i30 N hits the road this fall.

Hyundai-i30-N-prototype-REEL


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2018 Jaguar E-Pace Spied, Including Interior

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2018 Jaguar E-Pace Spied, Including Interior and Cargo Space

Jaguar E-Pace Spy Shots

What It Is: Jaguar nearly went 100 years without building a single SUV or crossover, but now that the gates have opened by the F-Pace, they might as well be taken off the hinges. Following the enthusiastic reception given to that SUV, Jaguar is hoping to keep up the, uh, pace by fully committing to the trend. In the near future, Jaguar will triple its utility-vehicle presence by launching the all-electric I-Pace crossover, as well as the E-Pace pictured here: essentially a baby F-Pace, much in the same way the XE sedan is a smaller sibling to the XF. READ MORE ››


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