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Golf R-busting Hyundai i30N all-wheel drive on the cards

Hyundai upping the hot hatch stakes with AWD?

Hyundai Australia has confirmed an all-wheel drive version of the i30N hot hatch is a live product evaluation program, with engineering prototypes currently in development and testing.

In fact, Hyundai Australia public relations manager Guido Schenken told CarsGuide an AWD version of the brand’s first serious foray into the go-fast hatch segment has been part of the i30N concept strategy from the start.

And global head of the Hyundai N sub-brand, Albert Biermann, has publicly stated that four-wheel drive is a likely future-focus for the company.

Geoff Fear, a consultant working closely with Hyundai Australia on local suspension tuning and motorsport programs (under the N Performance umbrella) also confirmed the AWD Kona SUV’s rear axle and suspension set-up is directly compatible with the i30.

According to Fear, “Both cars sit on the same platform and the Kona’s rear-end bolts right in.”

Although cagey about the exact nature of the designs in play, Fear said during a late 2018 visit to Hyundai N Performance, based at the Korean giant’s Namyang R&D centre just outside Seoul, that AWD remains a priority.

This could mean an AWD i30N hatch and fastback, a Kona N model, or both.

Currently powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four, the front-wheel drive i30 N produces a VW Golf GTI-matching 202kW/350Nm (Golf - 180kW/370Nm) and would need to take a step up in power, torque and tech to challenge Volkswagen’s AWD Golf R which pushes out a solid 213kW/380Nm.

Is Hyundai N your kind of performance brand? Tell us what you think in the comments below.