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Hyundai i30 N still years away for Oz

Turn it up: In other global markets, Hyundai's hottest version of the i30 uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, but an even saucier i30 N is likely to be powered by a beefy 2.0-litre turbo.

i30 N Golf R rival not here until next-gen Hyundai i30 in 2017

3 Aug 2015

HYUNDAI’S high-performance version of the i30 hatchback will have to wait to tear up Australian bitumen until sometime after the third-generation model of the popular small car arrives in 2017.

European markets are thought to be gearing up for a hot i30 N, that is reportedly powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo and all-wheel drive, which would target the mid point between Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R.

But with its more costly Czech Republic origin, and unfavourable exchange rates, the Korean hot hatch could end up too expensive for Australian consumers in its current generation.

Expected to debut at next month’s IAA Frankfurt motor show, it is understood that Hyundai is using the 2016 i30 N to gauge consumer reaction in key European hot-hatch markets such as Great Britain, France, and Germany.

If the model wins a warm reception, the company would commit to the heavier investment to tool-up factories and suppliers in other manufacturing centres like the South Korean plant that currently builds the big-selling mainstream five-door variants for Australia.

Additionally, with the existing GD-series already three years old and well into its mid-cycle refresh, it is believed that Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) will take full advantage of the upcoming full redesign to help push its bestseller into the fiercely competitive hot-hatch fraternity.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the all-new Tucson in Thredbo last week, HMCA chief operating officer John Elsworth, said unfavourable exchange rates have played a big role in the upcoming i30 N’s Australian arrival prospects, but future iterations across the entire range are very much on his wish list.

“But we haven’t really solidified any plans yet, and (as far as current-generation i30 is concerned)… from our point of view probably not, because that car will probably come out of Europe with all of its challenging currency issues, and if we can’t do things at the right price we’re just not going to do them.

“Once it’s started and part of the range going forward, we’ll put our plans forward and put up our hands high, but it will take a few years I think before you really start seeing something like this in the showrooms.

“Hopefully it will be across the entire range, not just in small cars as a hot hatch. There really is a place in this market for sporty SUVs and sporty mid-sized cars.

“We’d love a sports model in every segment we’re in – with every car line we’d love a sports model. Australians have a big appetite for sports cars, they typically need a car that goes faster than the rest of the range, and we think it is a basic opportunity to have an N-brand.”

As reported early last month, the i30 N (named after Hyundai’s Namyang research and development facilities in South Korea) is likely to use a variation of the 224kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo tearaway powering the Veloster coupe-derived RM15 ‘Racing Midship 2015’ concept shown at April’s Seoul Motor Show.

It has been suggested that the N needs significant modifications to its structure to accommodate the AWD hardware – though it is also rumoured that the production vehicle expected at Frankfurt may in fact debut the next-generation i30’s modular C-sized platform.

Prototypes have been spied testing along Germany’s Nurburgring racing circuit, sporting a lower ride height and bigger wheels ensconcing larger brake callipers than the regular i30 hatch.

Along with the Golf R, the i30 R’s main rivals are the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R. European i30 buyers already have a warm-hatch option in the 150kW i30 Turbo, using a variation of the related Kia Pro_Cee’d GT’s 1.6-litre T-GDI four-pot turbo.

Hyundai is also said to be developing an N version of the recently released i20 super-mini made in Turkey, but that is highly unlikely to hit Australian roads now that HMCA has confirmed that the ageing Accent and its replacement will take over as the company’s volume-selling light-car entrant.

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