With the i30 Fastback N, Hyundai gets into a fight that is not quite easy to win. Other competitors are the Volkswagen GTi and the Renault Megan RS.
All car brands with some self-respect have a sportier line of models. Hyundai is of course not inferior and introduced its N-line as a concept at Frankfurt's Car Convention 2007. The first model to roll out on the roads was the Golf GTi Challenger i30 N. Now a new version of the same model has been released, but with a semi-hatch body.
“The recipe is simple: turbo-driven engine, front wheel drive and manual box”
A recipe that is hard to accomplish without sacrificing enjoyment behind the wheel — above all for front-wheel-driven motor vehicles suffering from so-called “torque-steer”. In plain English, this means that the car gets choppy forward movement at full acceleration because it gets difficult to distribute force into the road in a controlled manner. A yardstick for a car successful in this category is the Renault Megan RS. Incredibly nice balance, steering and virtually no torque-steer at all.
The engine of the Hyundai i30 Fastback N is a turbo-powered two-liter machine with 275 horsepower. There is also a weaker version with 250hp, but the one we tried is the former, with the optional extra “Performance”. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a manual six-speed box. The i30 Fastback N is not available in automatic or with a double clutch box — another reason why it is so fun. Certainly, it would be comfortable with a double clutch box but the sporty feeling of driving a car with a good manual gearbox is not comparable.
In addition, Hyundai has been kind enough to put in a function that gives intermediate gas during downshifts to ensure that the revs match up with the selected gear (“rev-matching”). Something else you would otherwise need to execute with the toe-and-heel technique, which few drivers today can do with virtually everyone driving automatics.
In addition to having the i30 Fastback N on a small but very fun track adjacent to the airport, a private road has also been closed for our disposal. Here the car really gets let loose. On the winding roads up along the cliff side and then down to the water again, we get the opportunity to without fear of traffic or police, get to know what the car is made of. And it really is impressive what Hyundai has succeeded in doing. The car is incredibly nice and well-balanced. The fact that it is such a fantastic machine is no coincidence; the i30 Fastback N is equipped with an electronic differential, the so-called “E-LSD”, which helps distribute the power between the wheels.
“Hyundai has always had a hand in racing, giving them precious experience”
To optimize the driving experience there are, as with so many other cars, different driving modes. Hyundai calls it their “Grind-Control System”. With the button on the dial you can choose between Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. In the latter you have the maximum driving experience of the i30 Fastback N.
If I had a passion for sporty and fun cars with front-wheel drive, the choice between a Megan RS or i30 Fastback N would be difficult. That Hyundai's getting into the competition with this kind of car is really fun, especially when considering that you see less and less of its kind.
|Hyundai i30 Fastback N|
Starting price: from SEK 324,900.