The Hyundai i30 N has been a well-received first stab at a proper hot hatchback from the Korean manufacturer. Now our spy photographers have snapped the first proof that Hyundai is planning to expand its N range to include more subtle styling-focused editions, probably badged N Sport.
The car caught on camera in Germany is likely to be called i30 N Sport when it arrives later this year; Hyundai has made multiple applications to trademark the name and logo over the past 12 months. The new model is designed to appeal to those who want the motorsport-themed styling without the full hot hatch performance and fuel consumption – much as Ford and Skoda have been selling vehicles badged ST Line and SportLine respectively.
The first glimpse of the car comes less than a year after the N boss Albert Biermann told Auto Express that he was open to the idea of styling-focused expansion of the sub-brand. “I can see potential for that,” he said. “There’s more to come from N than just the high-performance models. We’ll widen the scope. It can still be a different driving experience but not to the extent of an N model. Every manufacturer is trying to use the brand power of their sporty sub-label, so why would we not do it?”
The telling difference between this car and a full-blown i30 N is at the rear, where there’s just a single pair of exhaust pipes instead of the quad-tipped configuration that features on both the 250bhp and 275bhp Performance versions of the i30 N.
The disguise focuses on the front end, which is likely to include a more aggressive bumper than the standard i30 and may feature the N Sport badge on the grille. The test vehicle also has a different design at the rear, featuring an aerodynamic ‘gill’ below the C-pillar.
We’d expect the i30 N Sport’s engine line-up to be based on conventional powertrains – Hyundai’s 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel. The chassis will be lower and firmer than those of regular i30s, but it’ll be much closer in feel to the mainstream line-up than the hot hatchbacks. Expect some motorsport-themed styling tweaks in the cabin, too, including aluminium ‘racing’ pedals.