Powerful small cars seem to be a dying breed. Ford Fiesta ST or VW Polo GTI is still available. However, Cupra Ibiza, Audi S1 and Renault Clio RS are no longer allowed. That is why we greedily pursued the development of the new Hyundai i20N. After various sightings and teasers, Hyundai is now showing its full splendor.
Why does Hyundai offer a small N model when “combustion engine” is almost a vow? Hyundai has many electric vehicles in its portfolio, especially with more models under the Ioniq sub-brand, giving automakers space for their lineup. N is also the company’s Hello brand, and the i20WRC has been racing in the World Rally Championship for years.
But philosophically enough, let’s take a closer look at the new Hyundai i20 N. Of course, the typical Hyundai N color is the first to catch the eye. This is a kind of baby blue officially called “Performance Blue”. The i20 N stands on an 18-inch aluminum rim, and the huge roof spoiler is very impressive. There is also an additional air intake on the front bumper and a separate grille with the N logo.
It also includes modified rear lights, a rear bumper with a diffuser, and a triangular rear fog light. A unique side skirt and a total of seven exterior colors conclude the look, creating a sharp looking hatch that combines the i20N line with the hotter and larger i30N. Inside there is a black interior with “performance blue” accents and sports seats. It features an integrated headrest, sports steering wheel, metal pedals, unique instrument cluster graphics, and special gear knobs.
Below the hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with an intercooler and a special water pump. It produces 204 horsepower (152 kW) and 202 pound-ft (275 Newton meters) of torque, providing a power-to-weight ratio of 171 hp (127 kW) per ton. I made a high calculation, believing that the i20 N weighs about 2,645 pounds (1,200 kilograms). Hyundai has not yet announced the number of accelerations of the car or its top speed. However, the heavier Kia Ceed with a 204 hp mill takes 7.4 seconds to reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour). The Ford Fiesta ST requires 6.5 seconds.
Out of the box, Hyundai offers i20N customers one gearbox option-a 6-speed manual. According to Hyundai Motor, the company may add an 8-speed dual clutch unit if customer demands, but there are no plans for an automatic gearbox. Hyundai has strengthened the manual gearbox with a stronger clutch. A mechanical limited slip differential is also available, allowing “Rev Matching” with the red button on the steering wheel.
Launch control is also available, and several drive modes are available: Normal, Eco, Sport, N, N Custom. The last one allows the driver to choose different settings such as engine response and sound, steering, ESP, rev matching, etc. to his liking.
According to Hyundai, the regular i20 chassis has been readjusted and reinforced to improve drivability and handling. The suspension has new joints, springs and shock absorbers. It also features high-performance brakes with a front disc of 12.6 inches (320 mm) and up to 1.5 inches (40 mm).
The new Hyundai i20N was launched in early 2021 and pricing is still obscured. The Ford Fiesta ST starts at around € 24,000 ($ 28,382) at current exchange rates. The i20 N should be close to that, but with better standard equipment.