The gap between the standard i30 hatch and the fire breathing i30 N might be separated by just one letter, but in terms of their on-road ability, smiles per gallon, and sheer performance, it’s clear that there’s a pretty big gulf.
And now that Hyundai has pretty much succeeded in creating a rather stunning hot hatch to rival the best of them, it’s time to bridge that chasm. To do that, the South Korean automaker is reportedly close to unveiling their new N-Line series, a sports pack that includes visual upgrades and perhaps even some tweaked dynamics that will improve the standard car.
As evidenced by a test car spotted around the Nurburgring, Hyundai’s N-Line can be thought of much like Mercedes-Benz’s AMG-Line, Audi’s S-Line, or BMW’s M Sport pack. The latter of which has a touch of irony given that the head of the company’s N high performance division was BMW company veteran, trusted with many high profile projects within BMW M prior to joining Hyundai.
From what was observable on this test car, expect the N-Line to add larger wheels with correspondingly thinner tyres, a lowered suspension, and a revised set of springs to offer a more fun around the corners.
However, as with most sport packs, the changes will not have any effect on the powertrain. Rather, the i30 N-Line should be powered by the same range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, such as the 150kW 1.6-litre T-GDi or 100kW CRDi oiler.
Despite the N-Line seemingly stemming from the same desire to bridge an obvious performance and price gap, Hyundai would need to adopt a more aggressive stance with regard to their engines should they intend to compete with the Focus ST or Renault Megane GT.