Revealed: Hyundai i20 N breaks cover as a 152kW Fiesta eater

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Words: Matthew Hansen
21 Oct 2020

Hyundai has finally unveiled its new i20 N sub-compact hot hatch in full, as well as an array of new details — including a full fleshing out of its powertrain.

The new N’s zany styling triples down on the marque’s budget for neon red highlights; adding them around the front splitter and side skirts before slathering them all over the aggressive rear diffuser (which itself also features a neat little triangular reflector in the centre).

As previously speculated, the model is a bit more in your face than the i20 N-Line, with those highlights and larger aero bits complemented by bigger 18-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber. There’s also a neat little rear wing atop the hatch, and naturally it’s available in the company’s hero colour; Performance Blue.

As rumoured, the i20 uitilises a turbocharged 1.6-litre four. Hyundai claims it produces 152kW of power and 275Nm of torque. This puts the platform in good stead next to its rivals the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI. The former packs 147kW/290Nm and the latter 147kW/320Nm. So, more power for the Korean firecracker, but less torque.

A larger turbocharger and intercooler feature, as does Hyundai’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration tech and a 350 bar fuel injection system. There’s a bevy of drive modes to choose from, as you might expect. These are actioned via what Hyundai calls its ‘Grin Control System’ — five different modes are available, each capable of adjusting engine response, stability control, transmission, steering and exhaust sound parameters on the fly.

The little i20 can rocket to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h, Hyundai says. That’s a touch slower than Ford’s quoted Fiesta ST acceleration figure of 6.5 seconds, but it’s worth mentioning that in our own tests we clocked the ST at 6.8 seconds. The Polo GTI, in our tests, performed the same task in 5.9 seconds.

Just one transmission option is set to be offered from new, in the form of a six-speed manual. By the sounds, Hyundai’s roll-out looks to be similar to that of the i30 N — offered first exclusively with a stick with an auto offered later. The firm has confirmed that it’s considering adding an eight-speed dual clutch to the i20 N line-up down the line if customers clamour for it.

The six-speed reportedly comes with a beefed up clutch, and rev-matching capabilities like its i30 N cousin (those with a penchant for big red buttons will appreciate the steering wheel button for activating rev matching, too).

Hyundai has given the chassis additional reinforcement to make it stiffer than the platform under the standard i20. It’s also added new suspension joints, springs, and shockers. The standard brakes have been swapped out for an in-house brake set-up underlined by a larger set of 12.6-inch front discs. There’s also a mechanical limited-slip differential on some models.

Pricing hasn’t been confirmed in any market. NZ Autocar has reached out to Hyundai New Zealand to ask whether the model will be offered on local shores. We will update when we hear back.

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