2019 Hyundai i30 N Fastback Review | Asian Car Guide
October 15, 2019

2019 Hyundai i30 N Fastback Review

2019 Hyundai i30 N fastback

Up till now, Hyundai seemed to be content making affordable cars for practical people. Well, that is about to change – fast.

Since 2012, Hyundai has been acquiring the talents of some top German engineers and executives in its effort to surpass the Japanese and even the Europeans.

The i30 N was born in Namyang, Korea at Hyundai global R&D Centre. Hyundai did nearly 500 laps of the famed Nürburgring race track, the most challenging race track in the world and the home of Hyundai’s Testing Centre.

There is a hatch, but we sampled the new fastback shaped version, which we feel looks much better. The fastback has 12% larger boot (436-litres) and improved aerodynamic shape, lowering drag from 0.32 for the hatch to 0.29CD. It also has softened, but more lively suspension.

In standard form, the i30 N is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin scroll-powerful turbocharged engine coupled to a six-speed manual transmission producing 202kW of power (at 6,000rpm) and 353Nm of torque (378Nm on overboost – from 1,450-4,700rpm).

The additional aggression does not stop there – the package includes a genuine e-differential for true torque vectoring, 19-inch Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres to improve grip and agility, tuned exhaust and fiercer-looking front/rear spoilers, the fastback’s rear one better positioned, below the window.

Inside are features to easily satisfy the picky driver. Apart from solid fit and finish, it sports Qi wireless charger, dual-zone air-con, and freestanding high-resolution infotainment system, complete with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Highly functional, this car. Despite wheelbase of 2,650mm, not best in class, rear passengers have sufficient leg space, including the centre occupant. Such is the advantage of a front-wheel driven car.

There are five different drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom – and you can fiddle with the steering, suspension, power delivery, electronic stability and more, then recall the setting with a second push of the steering-wheel mounted N button (first push gives your full-bore N mode with everything in maximum attack). This is all done through the N menu on the infotainment system, where you can scroll through turbo boost, G-forces and other telemetry.

Normal drive mode provides the best comfort, but nobody would pay extra money to drive “normally”. Sport mode proves to be the best all-rounder, with a good compromise between comfort, control and outright handling.

To get the car into the sportiest mode called N, press the checkered-flag button on the right side of the steering wheel boss, across from the left-side button that switches between the other drive modes.

As long as the road is fairly smooth, you can enjoy the added sense of control and sharpened handling of the i30 N in N mode, but be prepared, the ride becomes too stiff on bumpy country roads. I feel Sport mode suits these roads better, but N mode has the louder, more entertaining soundtrack. Thankfully, Hyundai provides a solution – press the N button a second time and the system goes into a custom setting which lets the driver choose how to set up the car exactly how he wants.

The car‘s handling is excellent, with willingness to turn in, and well-controlled exits from corners even when driving it hard. The car does not mind being chucked into corners; always fighting off understeer rather well and occasionally exhibiting a bit of lift-off oversteer.

The manual-only 6-speeder (only way to drive this car of course) is pleasingly slick in operation, with a short throw and slightly notchy feel to it. It features rev matching for smooth changes, which can be disabled if preferred.

Get it right and zero to 100km/h takes just 6.1 seconds. Surprisingly, there is little torque-steer, thanks to the optimised geometry and software controlling the electrically assisted steering.

The adaptive suspension comes from Hyundai’s Genesis model range, carefully tuned for this application, with sporty spring-and-damper settings.

According to Hyundai, the five-door body has been specially strengthened with extra welds and reinforced with high-tensile steel underneath and around front strut mounts.

After having driven the i30 N, my opinion is this car is more focused than the VW Golf GTi and Golf R (my opinion). The Hyundai i30 N is an accessible high-performance package for people who love to drive their car on the road and listen to the sound of the engine.  I never thought I would ever say that of a Hyundai. Well done, Hyundai.

Warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres, covering “non-competitive racetrack driving, and fitment of high-performance semi-slick tyres. Plus there’s a lifetime capped-price servicing plan, with intervals set at 12 months/10,000km, whichever occurs first. The costs are very low for the first five years of ownership, with the first, second, third and fifth visits costing $299, and the fourth set at $399. Total of  $1,595 over 5 years.

Servicing your car at Hyundai, you will get up to 10 years’ roadside assist included; rolling over for every year you remain loyal.

Hyundai i30 N Pricing and Specifications:

  • Price: From $41,990 plus on-road costs
  • Engine: 1,998cc, 16-valves, turbocharged
  • Power: 202kW at 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 353Nm at 1,450 – 4,500rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Fuel use: From 8.0L/100km (combined)