A HYUNDAI i30 hatch wearing distinctively sporty N-branded attire and partial camouflage has been spied testing in Europe, previewing a new line of N Sport models in the works.
Following the successful launch of Hyundai’s motorsport-focused N division, the brand appears to be readying the first in a range of warmed-up, style-focused N Sport models to sit below fully fledged N vehicles in a similar fashion to Renault GT-Line variants, VW R-Line models and numerous other examples from performance subsidiaries.
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When introduced, it is believed the i30 N Sport will take the place of the existing i30 SR sold here in Australia, taking over its mantle as the sporty-looking everyday hatchback with improved dynamic ability and pokier engine performance than other models in the regular i30 range.
Pictures show the disguised hatchback wearing a red-striped rear bumper almost identical to the i30 N’s, albeit with a twin-tip exhaust outlet that exits on one side rather than the N’s dual outlets that are split across the rear valance.
Other minor differences include a chrome window surround, rather than the N’s blacked out trim, and large alloy wheels of a different design. A small black rear spoiler at the top of the hatch seems to match that of the i30 N.
Heavy black cladding on the front suggests that area is where the N Sport’s changes are most noticeable. The i30 SR currently sold in Australia does not have a unique front bumper or grille treatment, instead using the same plastics as the regular i30 Premium.
Some speculation has suggested the i30 N Sport will be powered by a further de-tuned version of the i30 N’s 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that’s currently available in two outputs of either 184kW in the regular i30 N, or 202kW in the i30 N Performance – only the latter of which is being sold in Oz.
However, Wheels understands any eventual i30 N Sport sold in Australia will continue with the SR’s 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder, producing similar power and torque to the 150kW and 265Nm it makes now.
Locally calibrated suspension and steering tunes are an almost dead certainty, as the i30 SR already benefits from such improvements.
It’s unlikely we will see the i30 N Sport arrive in local dealerships before 2019, though we shouldn’t have to wait that long to see it in production form. Expect an official reveal later this year.