Hyundai i30 N at extreme climate test stage ahead of 2018 arrival

16 March 2017
, GoAutoMedia

Hyundai is putting its i30 N hot hatch through its paces with extreme weather testing – ranging from the arid heat of the Australian outback to the icy chill of Sweden – ahead of its debut in local showrooms by year's end.

Hyundai Australia PR boss Bill Thomas confirmed the South Korean brand's first N Performance model was in the country for hot weather testing.

"We've had similar test cars in Australia recently, so we've had a hot weather test car here," he said. "It's actually just gone back to Korea, but we've had a hot weather test car out here recently for a couple of months."

Mr Thomas also confirmed Australia will have some involvement in the i30 N hot hatch's chassis tuning, but final specifications will be adjusted in Europe.

"Albert Biermann (Hyundai vice president of vehicle testing and high performance development) and the N Performance team said that they're going to be tuning the car in Germany and elsewhere in Europe exclusively," he said.

"They've got a higher degree of control over this car than usual. However, a really important aspect to that is we will be sending some engineers from Australia to be involved in the chassis tune for the car.

"So we're not sure on timing for that just yet, but it's likely to be May/June, and we will have input into the final tune which will happen in Europe.

"So on one hand the N guys are quite controlled in where they tune, but on the other hand they're inviting us as one of the key markets to contribute to that tune."

Similarly, dynamic testing of Hyundai's first hot hatch has taken place on a frozen lake in Sweden, piloted by World Rally Championship (WRC) driver Thierry Neuville.

Mr Neuville put the i30 N through its paces, assessing the limited-slip differential, steering, electronic stability control, suspension and tyres, and concluded that "the engineers have done a great job on the gearbox and the differential".

"There is good traction and good stability in the slippery testing conditions. And it's very easy to handle. A normal driver should get a sensation similar to that of a racing car," he said.

Power will come from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder available in two states of tune – 184kW or 202kW with the optional Performance Pack – and be fed through a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic from 2019.

The i30 N will have its work cut out for it when it lands in at the tail end of 2017 to keep pace with other small hot hatches including the Ford Focus ST, Holden Astra VXR, upcoming Honda Civic Type R and perennial Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Will the i30 N have what it takes to take the fight to the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI? Tell us what you think in the comments below.