The phrase “hot hatchbacks” has been thrown around a bit lately, driven by the recent trend of creating coupe-inspired variants of different vehicle styles. In the case of the “five-door coupe,” it calls for a slimmed down hatch which allows the body style to more closely resemble a sedan, rather than the classic hatchback aesthetic. And as of last month’s Paris Motor Show, Hyundai is throwing their hat into the ring with the newest i30 Fastback N.
In fact, the retooled hatchback is the primary difference between the fastback-styled i30 N and its immediate predecessor. We’ll talk more about the specs that carry over, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves (since we don’t want to create any sense of false hope, for anyone who finds themselves enamored with this Fastback N after reading this).
Addressing the elephant in the room, you shouldn’t expect to find this particular Hyundai stateside anytime soon. That said, its hard not to appreciate the effort put into creating something that infuses utility with a little bit of swagger. In this regard, Hyundai proved successful in spades; and if you like the N variant but also like living here in America, well, you could always look into the Veloster (wink, wink). But I digress…
In terms of powertrain, the i30 Fastback N is largely unchanged. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four paired to a six-speed manual transmission (standard) it channels up to 271 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. Opt for the performance package (if available) and it means the inclusion of a variable exhaust system, and electronic limited-slip differential. But regardless of which trim and configuration you opt for, expect just over 6 seconds for a sprint to 60 mph.
Drawing inspiration from restyled stablemates like the Veloster and Elantra, the i30 offers a cabin experience that feels fresh, while speaking to a sense of sportiness and fun. Consistent with the exterior, N badging abounds throughout the overall design of the i30’s interior as well as its distinctive instrument cluster (and in case you were wondering, no-one’s really complaining). Modern styling and strong material choices add to the appeal, making it well worth an extended walk around.
In fact, here’s a closer look courtesy of Hyundai UK.
All in all, it’s a great looking car with strong performance credibility…well, at least as far as you’d expect from a Hyundai. We don’t mean that in an overly critical sense, it’s just that you don’t come across many Hyundai enthusiasts/loyalists in everyday life here in the states. And that’s why the absence of such a compelling offering west of the Atlantic feels like a relative misstep. One can only hope that Hyundai sees the error of its ways, and corrects this, expanding the N series more substantially into the U.S. As far as variant offerings go, it’s certainly got strong enough legs to bolster brand enthusiasm…and who doesn’t need that?