In a world where every other car that’s rolling off the factory floor seems to be an SUV, Hyundai’s latest creation here should be applauded – because the all-new Hyundai i20 N is not a car made for the masses, but for the handful of enthusiasts. They probably won’t sell too many of these (I certainly hope to be proven wrong), but they still went ahead and built it anyway.
Hyundai says that the i20 N is heavily influenced by its WRC rally counterpart, and it is evident almost throughout the entire car – from exterior styling, chassis, to even the weight of the car. Yes, the weight – the Hyundai i20 N weighs just 1,190 kg, which is exactly the same as the i20 Coupe WRC.
Paired to a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged GDi that sends 204 hp and 275 Nm to the front wheels, the light weight gives the i20 N one of the best power-to-weight ratio in the compact hot hatch class, and translates to a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 6.7 seconds, onward to a top speed of 230 km/h. And the best part? It’s only available with a six-speed manual transmission.
Being a full-blown N model, the new Hyundai i20 N also comes with all of the electronics and mechanical wizardries to enhances its performance on track. These include launch control and downshift rev matching (which can be toggled off) for the gearbox, an optional N Corner Carving mechanical limited-slip differential, and left-foot braking calibration.
Of course, the humourously-named N Grin Control drive mode selector is also present on the Hyundai i20 N, with five distinct drive modes – Normal, Eco, Sport, N and N Custom – to suit every driving condition by altering the ESC, engine, and steering responses along with exhaust modes.
To better handle the agility required for track driving, the chassis, suspension, brakes, and steering on the all-new i20 N has also been souped-up from its regular civilian-friendly counterpart. The chassis is reinforced at 12 different points, while the suspension gets reinforced front domes and knuckles with a more aggressive camber geometry for better traction.
There’s also the new anti-roll bar, springs, and shock absorbers, along with a Power Sense front axle and Dual Coupled Torsion Beam Axle rear suspensions that firms up the ride, which Hyundai says provides improved ride and handling performance. The front brakes are also enlarged by 40 mm than the regular i20 for improved stopping power and fade resistance.
As for looks, the WRC connection can be seen on the rear roof-mounted spoiler. Obviously, the one on the actual WRC car is way larger than this, but Hyundai says that it still helps with the aerodynamics of the i20 N. Otherwise, the compact hot hatch pretty much adopts the exterior styling of the recently-announced all-show-and-no-go i20 N-Line.
There are of course some unique touches reserved specifically for the full-blown N model. These include the Performance Blue paintjob (other body colours also available) with Tomato Red accents, unique side skirts, a large oval tailpipe, and 18-inch wheels shod with Hyundai N-specific Pirelli P-Zero tyres (215/40 profile). The entire car is also lowered by 10 mm to give it a sportier stance, along with better weight management during spirited driving.
Inside, the i20 N gets a model-exclusive sports seats with integrated head restraints, N steering wheel, N gear knob, a shift timing indicator on the digital instrument cluster, and sporty N metal foot pedals. The iconic Hyundai N Performance Blue colour is also littered throughout the cabin to offset the largely black cabin.
Just like the latest BMW M or Mercedes-AMG models, the tiny Hyundai i20 N also comes with a track data logger – called Performance Driving Data System – to monitor and record your performance parameters, including engine power, torque, turbo boost, lap times, and acceleration times.
Additionally, the Hyundai i20 N is also equipped with the latest Hyundai SmartSense advanced driver assistance systems, which includes features such as forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and autonomous emergency braking, intelligent speed limit assist, blind-spot warning, rear-cross traffic alert, high beam assist, as well as a driver attention warning system with lane departure alert and lane centring assist.