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Hyundai has finally pulled the covers off its first fully electric N car, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.
Looking like a cross between the Ioniq 5 and an i30 N hot hatch, the Ioniq 5 N boasts not only impressive improvements over the rest of the variants in its range, but even against its cousin from Kia - the EV6 GT.
Hyundai’s European Technical Center Director of Vehicle Development Tyrone Johnson explained to journalists at a preview of the electric N car the lengths engineers had gone to to differentiate it from the standard Ioniq 5, while retaining its ‘everyday’ useability.
Though not explicitly said, it also meant highlighting how the Ioniq 5 goes a little further than its cousin from Kia - the EV6 GT - in becoming a proper electric performance car.
From the outside, it’s clear this isn’t a regular Ioniq. Where the EV6 GT looks a lot like its lesser siblings, the Ioniq 5 N wears burnt orange (Hyundai calls it Luminous Orange Matte) highlights on its redesigned bodywork, which includes vents and mesh to assist cooling.
But it’s what you can’t see that really makes the Ioniq 5 N more a ‘rascal’ (as Hyundai might say) than the Kia equivalent - it’s more powerful.
While its standard 448kW and 740Nm outputs mean it’s already 18kW more powerful than the EV6 GT, it features an ‘N Grin Boost’ mode that ups power and torque to 478kW and 770Nm, allowing it to hit 100km/h in 3.4 seconds.
That’s 0.1 seconds faster than the EV6.
Tyrone Johnson told media there’s no plan to make a more powerful version of the Ioniq 5, which is probably reasonable given it’s already as quick as a new Ferrari Roma.
Also under the skin is a host of changes that Hyundai’s N department applied to the Ioniq 5 N to stiffen it up and prepare it for some harder driving, including chassis reinforcements comprised of 42 welding points and 2.1 metres of structural adhesives.
Rally-inspired drive axles aim to reduce unsprung mass while ensuring better torque application, plus an entirely different steering column and rack compared to the standard Ioniq 5.
Johnson also specifically pointed out the brakes, the 400mm front and 360mm rear brake discs were designed to be as light as possible and are also assisted by an N-specific tuning for the car’s regenerative braking system.
In terms of practicality, the Ioniq 5 N uses an 84kWh battery which can be charged at up to 350kW thanks to the e-GMP platform Hyundai uses - allowing charging from 10 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes. Hyundai will confirm the car’s electric driving range at launch - but for reference the EV6 GT has a claimed 424km.
More elements of the Ioniq 5 N come from - according to Hyundai’s N Brand and Motorsport Vice President Till Wartenberg - a mix of findings from the brand’s “rolling labs” such as the RM20e, RN22e and N Vision 74, as well as feedback from N customers.
“We’ve closely monitored the voices of our N fans in order to fine-tune our first all-electric N with the goal of electrifying the driving passion of our most demanding N-thusiasts,” said Wartenberg.
The Ioniq 5 N has a function in which the paddles can be used to mimic the feedback of a dual-clutch transmission, called ‘N e-shift’, which simulates the “jolt feeling” between shifts.
Given the Kia EV6 wears an RRP of $99,590 (before on-road costs), it’s very possible the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will exceed that by some margin. The equivalent non-N or GT variants from either model are almost the same price - $85,000 for the Ioniq 5 Epiq or $87,590 for the EV6 GT-Line, both with 239kW and 605Nm.
Australian timing for the Ioniq 5 N is yet to be confirmed, but don't expect deliveries to commence this year.