The hottest Hyundai ever is a total bargain on paper.
This track review was carried out in conjunction with MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks 2018
For $39,990 you get 202kW and 378Nm from a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four, 19-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, a tricky electronically locking front differential and all the exhaust pops and bangs you could ever ask for.
And so, having arrived at its first-ever Bang For Your Bucks, hyped like it was made by Steven Spielberg himself, top honours are not within the i30 N’s grasp this time around. So what gives?
In fairness, by the time you mix Bang and Buck together, there was very little separating sixth to third. A bit of extra speed, or a few less grand, could have been the difference between fifth and a podium for the i30 N.
In a sense, as well, it’s done its job to finish ahead of the VW Golf GTI Original and Peugeot 308 GTI 270. Technically, as you’ve read, it’s tied with the GTI Original on the BFYB index, but comes out a spot ahead as it was much more popular with the judges.
What the numbers don’t tell you is that the i30 N was one of the few cars that felt great on the track, a car that you wanted to keep going around in (when there were other cars here in which you did the bare minimum laps, and then jumped into something else).
The seats hold you in, there’s a strong connection through the steering to the front wheels, the tyres feel tenacious and the brakes solid, challenging you to give all you’ve got. Forgetting all the hype and just focusing on the i30 N on merit, this is a fun car on track, up for a bit of lift-off oversteer fun as well, if you dare.
Would we buy an i30 N if we intended on taking it to track days? Absolutely – and we can’t quite stress how big a call this is, as so many supposed track-able performance cars – some of which are in this very company – we wouldn’t dream about taking to regular track days. The i30 N felt great at Winton, the tyres and brakes more than holding up.
In the news: i30 N covered with track warranty
If we had to level some criticism at the hottest Hyundai ever, it would be that while the interior styling and ergonomics are quite good, you can see where some cost is saved with material quality, particularly compared to its European rivals. It’s also just not as fast to 100km/h as we thought it would be – 6.82sec was more than half a second slower than the GTI Original, a car with supposedly 30 less kilowatts.
But a solid performance it was for the i30 N, popular with the judges for fun factor and plenty fast for its price. It’s just that there were cars on the day that were more expensive, but also with more than enough pace to counterbalance their extra cost.
Where price meets performance on Bang For Your Bucks 2018
Hyundai i30 N BFYB 2018 Results - 5th place
0-100km/h: 6.82sec (11th)
0-400m: 14.63sec @ 162.33km/h (11th)
Lap Time: 1:39.60sec (6th)
Bang Index: 131.1
Bucks Index: 125.6
BFYB Index: 128.6
Warren Luff - 3rd
“The i30 N was pleasantly surprising out on track – this thing’s really punching above its weight. Its only downfall is that it misses out on a bit of straight-line speed. But through some of the fast-flowing and also tight and twisty stuff it’s very positive at the front-end. The overall balance, confidence and feedback that it relays makes you want to do more laps. It doesn’t do all the work for you and that’s what makes it a good driver’s car.”
David Morley - 4th
“A proper fist of a hot-hatch first time out”
Dylan Campbell - 6th
“Must. Forget. Hype. If you can do that, it’s terrific on track”
Scott Newman - 5th
“Poised and predictable, but not as potent as expected”
Louis Cordony - 6th
“Great, involving package can’t shine bright as more expensive hot-hatch giants”
2018 HYUNDAI i30 N
BODY: 5-door, 5-seat hatch
ENGINE: 1998cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
BORE/STROKE: 86.0mm x 86.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 9.5:1
POWER: 202kW @ 6000rpm
TORQUE: 353Nm @ 1450-4700rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers (f); multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 345mm ventilated discs, single-piston calipers (f); 314mm ventilated discs, single-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 19.0 x 8.0-inch (f/r)
TYRES: Pirelli P Zero (HN); 235/35 R19 (f/r)
Bang For Your Bucks 2018
The Contenders, Judges & Criteria
15 of the hottest new fast cars under $100K roll up to take on our famous formula. Which will be number 1?