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Hyundai i30 N 2018 revealed

The manual-only i30 N Performance Package produces 202kW/353Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine.

Hyundai has finally revealed its first-ever entrant in the hot hatch segment, with the i30 N set to be offered in two grades when it goes toe-to-toe with the venerable Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Scheduled for an Australian launch in the fourth quarter, the debut model from the Korean carmaker’s N sub-brand will be available in 'Standard Package' and 'Performance Package' varieties.

Both are propelled by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with drive sent exclusively to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching function.

The standard i30 N outputs 184kW at 6000rpm and 353Nm from 1450-4000rpm, resulting in a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.4 seconds thanks to its launch control feature.

Alternatively, the flagship Performance Package dials the power up to 202kW at 6000rpm, whereas its peak torque figure does not change, but is spread across a wider band (1450-4700rpm).

The extra 18kW helps the range-topping N variant to complete the triple-digit dash in 6.2s, while both versions of the spicy i30 share the same top speed of 250km/h.

Comparatively, the ‘7.5’ update of the Golf GTI launches next month, packing a 169kW/350Nm punch, while a spicier 180kW/370Nm 'Performance Edition 1' version will be released alongside it.

Purists may be let down by the i30 N’s electronic sound generator which pumps fake engine noise into the cabin, but will be elated by the Performance Package’s inclusion of a variable exhaust valve system that alters the volume of the hot Hyundai’s bark.

Adaptive dampers and a Performance Package-only electronic limited-slip differential (E-LSD) complement the i30 N’s McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, ensuring sharp handling and a sporty ride.

Five different driving modes – ‘Eco’, ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’, ‘N Mode’ and ‘N Custom’ – allow the driver to adjust engine, rev-matching, E-LSD, exhaust, suspension, steering and stability control settings.

The standard model rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 Michelin tyres, while the Performance Package has 19-inch rims shod in 235/35 Pirelli P-Zero rubber and larger disc brakes with red-painted callipers.

Based on the five-door i30 hatch, the N sits 4mm lower as standard or 8mm closer to the ground in flagship form.

Completing the i30 N’s exterior look is a sports bodykit comprised of a front splitter, side skirts, aggressive front and rear bumpers, gloss-black roof-mounted rear spoiler and dual exhaust tips.

Inside, a blue-stitched N sports steering wheel, N badging, N-themed instrument cluster and sports seats with lumbar support – trimmed in either suede/leather or cloth – differentiate the hot hatch from the mainstream i30.

Equipment also includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system, satellite navigation with live traffic, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support and wireless smartphone charging.

A suite of safety and driver assistance technologies extend to AEB, forward collision warning, driver fatigue alert, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, speed limit recognition and high beam assist.

Depending on local specification, curb weight ranges from 1400-1480kg in the standard i30 N and 1429-1509kg for the Performance Package.

Six exterior paint colours are on offer including ‘Clean Slate’, ‘Polar White’, ‘Micron Grey’, ‘Phantom Black’, ‘Engine Red’ and the hero ‘Performance Blue’.

Pricing will be announced closer to the i30 N line-up’s local launch date, but expect the pair to be positioned below the manual Golf GTI ($41,490 before on-road costs) and its Performance Edition 1 derivative ($47,990) respectively.

Hyundai has confirmed it is working on a fastback version of the i30 N, as well as an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission option, due in 2019.

Will Hyundai make a dent in the hot hatch segment with its i30 N? Tell us what you think in the comments below.