Hyundai i30 N vs its rivals – on paper

Hyundai’s hot hatch hero measures up against new contenders set to do battle at the end of this year

Hyundai i30 N vs its rivals – on paper

A WAVE of tempting new metal is primed to hit the hot-hatch segment, promising Aussies new levels of track-honed keenness mixed with everyday usability.

Spearheading the assault is the Hyundai i30 N, but its pursuit of segment cut-through means facing off against a trio of fresh contenders, which together looks set to make this summer one of the most exciting times to have $50K of hard-earned dosh burning a car-sized hole in your wallet.

Hyundai has finally shown its first proper hot hatch in production-ready guise. The i30 N will launch in two varieties before the year is out. A base i30 N, with outputs of 184kW and 353Nm, will directly target the Golf GTI, and must be priced to undercut, or at worst match, the VW’s $41,490 point of entry if Hyundai is to successfully break into the category.

A more expensive i30 N Performance Pack version will turn the wick up to 202kW and 353Nm across a wider band, with up to around 380Nm available via an overboost function. An electronically controlled LSD will be standard, but buyers will pay for it with an expected price tag in the upper $40K bracket.

Only a six-speed manual will be offered at launch for both N cars, with an eight-speed dual-clutch two years away. Aussie engineers have contributed to the adaptive suspension calibration of both variants, which will range from a supple bumpy-road tune to a firm, track-only setting.

Fighting for dynamic supremacy will mean taking on the next Renault Megane RS, which will be fast-tracked to Oz following its European release.


Wheels artist's impression of the upcoming Megane RS

The RS will boast four-wheel steering, and offer a choice between a dual-clutch auto and a six-speed manual with rev-matching function. The superseded Megane RS Trophy R set the segment benchmark for steering and handling, so the new car carries a weight of expectation.

The Megane’s outputs and performance figures will become clearer closer to launch, though sources inside the company have hinted at a power output around the 220kW mark from an all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, and even the potential of mild hybrid assistance.

Renault is expected to target the Civic Type R for power-to-weight bragging rights and the FWD Nurburgring lap record, which the Megane RS once held and that Honda’s fifth-gen Civic Type R currently claims.

The latest Civic Type R will arrive in Oz this October as a single, highly equipped variant priced at $50,990. Standard spec includes active safety systems, a Brembo braking package, and model-specific front suspension and steering to best handle its outputs of 228kW and 400Nm, which make it the most powerful hatch here.

Volkswagen’s ‘7.5’ Golf model update has landed in Oz, but the faster GTI and R models will arrive in August. A slight power hike of 7kW sees the front-drive GTI hit 169kW/350Nm, while the all-paw R cracks 213kW/380Nm.

The R is the priciest car here whether fitted with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch auto, but the latest version should continue to justify its asking price by maintaining the benchmark for cabin quality and refinement without sacrificing performance.

All four of these cars have eyes on class leadership, and our first taste of Hyundai’s new offering revealed a sophisticated, engaging car. The i30 N’s arrival could turn the hot hatch segment on its head, 40 years since it started.


Hyundai i30 N Performance Pack

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, turbo
Power: 202kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 353Nm @ 1450-4700rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Weight: 1429kg
0-100km/h: 6.2sec
Price: $47,990*

New kid in the hot-hatch ’hood comes without credentials but with a lot of promise. First taste says it packs flavour.

Honda Civic Type R

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, turbo
Power: 228kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 2500-4500rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Weight: 1393kg
0-100km/h: 5.7sec
Price: $50,990

Highest engine outputs of this quartet, and knows the quick way around the ’Ring. But does it form a cohesive whole?

Renault Megane RS

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, turbo
Power: 220kW @ 6000rpm*
Torque: 375Nm @ 3500rpm*
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Weight: 1400kg*
0-100km/h: 5.8sec*
Price: $46,990*

For pure, hard-driving satisfaction, its predecessor was king. Surely the new one can’t miss. Can it?

Volkswagen Golf R

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, turbo
Power: 213kW
Torque: 380Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Weight: 1495kg
0-100km/h: 4.8sec
Price: $55,490

The only AWD car here is at its quickest and most expensive in DSG guise. A manual R is cheaper at $52,990, but slower to 100km/h.

* Estimated


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