Last Saturday morning, I had the chance to drive the all new Hyundai i30 N at the Nth Degree Experience at the Millbrook test facility.
This is an important car for Hyundai because it’s their first model to wear the N high performance badge.
The N brand was developed at the Namyang Research and Development Centre in Korea along with extensive setup completed at the legendary Nürburgring Germany (where Hyundai Motor’s European Test Centre is based).
At the Nth Degree Experience….prospective customers, fans and the curious took part in a series of tasks to familiarise themselves with the car. These tasks included – working the infotainment centre, getting the exhaust to pop and crackle (by revving it), identifying different features on the car blind folded, and (the best bit) taking it out for a drive. All this was done whilst wearing a heart rate monitor and we were then scored, and rates monitored, while performing the tasks. At the end of the event our scores were totalled up and prizes were awarded. This was all done in a light hearted fashion.
The top prize for the session was a co-drive with a professional driver in a Hyundai WRC car at the Wales Rally GB.
Another part of the test was to accelerate as fast as we could on the 1 mile straight. So this was the first time I got to drive the i30 N. Interestingly, the first thing I noticed about the i30 N is that the front seats are not overly bolstered. This isn’t in anyway an issue. They held me in very well where needed.
Adjusting the front electric drivers seat was a breeze. I quickly found a comfy driving position and then adjusted the steering wheel so I had a good view of the clear and easy to read instruments.
When I was ready, it was a case of building the revs and releasing the clutch. The i30 N took off with its Launch control. This car is quick!!! I then used the gear shift lights to change gear at the right time. With, what felt like a blink of an eye….we were travelling at seriously fast speeds. All this was done with hardly any torque steer or wheel spin. The car travelled from 0 to over 130 mph like a jet plane on full throttle for take off. An even bigger test was to come. How will it stop?? And when should I apply the brakes? Thankfully there was a professional driver next to me who would tell me calmly when to apply the brakes. I needn’t have worried. The Hyundai i30 N uses performance ventilated front disc brakes. Its stopping distance from 62 to 0 mph is 34.6 metres. I was politely told to brake and I slammed on the brakes. It stayed very composed and was easy to control under heavy braking….which was just as well because we were approaching the end of the strip!
My 2nd favourite part of the day involved getting the i30 N out on the Hill route (I will explain later about my favourite part of the whole experience).
The first time I had been to Millbrook test facility would be way back in 1999. I have been back several times since and have the course firmly ingrained in my brain.
As I said earlier in this blog this car is quick….but for me, where this car really excels is in how well it handles.
This car had me feeling nostalgic for the 80s. It has that “raw hot hatchback” feeling, reminiscent of the “back in the day” cars. This is something that the Hyundai N engineers have designed really well (especially since it’s their first effort).
Driving this car quickly gave me the impression that I was in a far smaller 3 door car and not a 5 door mid size hatch. This has to be partly down to the electronic limited slip differential….which sorted out the front wheels as I powered through the corners.
Whether I was taking slow or fast corners….it didn’t matter because the electronic limited slip differential, the Torque Vectoring System and the traction control makes sure you come out the corner pointing in the right direction.
Some of the praise must have to go to the electronically controlled suspension and the rear stiffness bar (pictured here).
This helps to make the whole car chassis feel rigid….but not uncomfortably so.
The suspension did everything (and more) that was expected from it. Even with 4 adults in the car….our weight did not upset the overall feel.
(Picture courtesy of Hyundai)
It has a slick and engaging 6 speed manual gearbox. If you select the “N” drive mode and you downshift, the car will blip the throttle between gear changes. So if you have not mastered the art of heel-and-toe (like me) then this car is made for you. It makes you sound to all your friends, neighbours and pedestrians as if you have (that sells it for me)!
Also in the “N” modes you get all the crackles and pops from the exhaust.
Check out We Blog Any Car Facebook page for the short video clip of the exhaust crackles and pops.
You do have 5 different driving modes :- Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom.
For this blog it was mostly in “N” mode. I would select this every time (even if only popping to my local shop on a Sunday morning).
So did I win the competition? No!
Was I upset? No…..Why not?? Read below:
On reflection there was no need for Hyundai to monitor our heart rates……they just had to look at our faces after we had been out in the car with the professional driver on the handling circuit! We were in shock… (in a fantastically good way)!
This was my favourite part of the experience.
I should’ve looked at the G’force monitor to see how many G’s I was experiencing in the passenger seat. The professional driver was able to get the i30 N to navigate the tight handling circuit at ridiculously fast speeds. It was mind boggling just how quickly he made the i30 N change direction. It was really good to feel and see just what this car is more than capable of doing in the right hands.
(Picture courtesy of Hyundai)
This is a car that, if you were to own or drive one, colleagues, friends and definitely your neighbours would be asking you….“what is it like to drive?”
And I am very sure every time you answer their questions you will have a huge beaming grin on your face (just like I did after driving one and still do writing this blog)!
The i30 N Performance is definitely a very good alternative to the other “Hot Hatches” currently on offer.
If you are in the market for a “Hot Hatch” definitely give this car a test drive. It is a no brainer with its high levels of standard equipment, 275 PS, 353 Nm of torque and peace of mind with its impressive 5 year unlimited warranty.
The Hyundai i30 N isn’t just a “Hot Hatch” its an “Extremely Hot Hatch!”
Now I understand its marketing slogan “Turning petrol heads.”
It has definitely turned mine.
Hyundai i30 N Performance model.
• 2.0 litre 4 cylinder engine
• 275 ps
• 353 Nm of torque
• 6.1 seconds 0 to 62 mph
• 155 mph top speed
• 6 speed manual
• Electronic limited slip differential (E-LSD)
• Torque Vectoring System
• Rear stiffness bar
• 19 inch alloys wheels
• Android Auto™
• Apple CarPlay™
• 163 CO2 emissions
• Prices start from £28,010.00
Check out my blog below for my first thoughts of the i30 N back in 2017 at the Frankfurt Motor.
For more information click on Hyundai i30 N below.