IT’S a good time to be in the market for a fast hatchback, but rumblings from Hyundai suggest shoppers in the hot hatch segment may have even more performance bargains to look forward to.
Having just launched its potent Hyundai i30 N last week with an attention-grabbing $39,990 price tag, there’s already the suggestion that the Korean company’s i30 N performance halo could drop even further in price. With Oz-market i30 Ns being sold in a single high-grade specification that’s equivalent to a flagship Performance Pack model overseas, Hyundai Australia says there’s still scope to bring the i30 N’s lower-output version here as a price leader.
How much cheaper could it get? According to Hyundai Australia product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi, “not much” is the answer.
“In terms of the spec value that’s in the car, the difference between the two in power, brakes, differential, wheels and tyres, there’s probably somewhere around $3000-3500 in value between them,” Tuitahi explained.
“If we were to bring in the standard variant, we’d need to keep that in mind and think about how we could do that effectively.”
But when the only C-segment rivals that are cheaper are the $39,240 Subaru WRX, the $38,990 Ford Focus ST and the $37,490 Volkswagen Golf GTI Original, the i30 N doesn’t have to shed many dollars from its sticker to undercut them. If Hyundai passes on the full spec-adjusted savings to customers, punters could pick up an i30 N for just $36,490.
Chasing cheapness does, naturally, come at a cost. The entry-level i30 N available overseas develops 184kW from its turbo 2.0-litre rather than the full-blooded 202kW and lacks its mechanical differential, while also making do with a smaller brake package and less grippy tyres. But even so, compared to the GTI Original the base i30 N makes 15kW more power and 28Nm more torque with overboost – not to mention the extra practicality of a pair of rear doors.
But Volkswagen may have the bottom end of the C-segment hot hatch market covered for a little while longer, as Hyundai Australia is in no great hurry to introduce a bargain i30 N just yet.
For now the company is content to keep the spotlight firmly fixed on the high-spec i30 N that has just launched. That said, the arrival of an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic option for the i30 N – slated for late 2019 – was flagged as a milestone that might also coincide with the arrival of a cheaper i30 N.
“We definitely wanted to make sure that the launch of the i30 N was a statement of intent,” said Tuitahi.