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2021 Hyundai i20 N: 150kW pocket rocket detailed

The local N Performance range is expanding next year with the introduction of the 2021 Hyundai i20 N, the wildest light car to ever come from the Korean brand.

1 month ago
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William Stopford
Journalist

Hyundai continues to prove its transmission isn’t in N, it’s in D.

The 2021 Hyundai i20 N, the Korean brand’s new pocket rocket, has been officially revealed.

It’ll arrive here in the first half of 2021, though local pricing and equipment has yet to be announced.

Under its short bonnet is a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 150kW of power and 275Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Maximum torque is between 1750 and 4500rpm and maximum power between 5500 and 6000rpm. Hyundai claims a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds.

This is more than just an i20 with a more powerful engine, with N engineers adding a new anti-roll bar, springs and shock absorbers and 40mm larger front brake discs, as well as making numerous enhancements to the suspension and steering.

The steering ratio has been reduced to 12.0 from 12.4 in the regular i20.

Launch Control is standard, while the i20 N can also be specified with a mechanical limited-slip differential that Hyundai calls the N Corner Carving Differential.

Drive modes are selectable through the cheekily named N Grin Control System, with the i20 N offering a choice of Normal, Eco, Sport, N and N Custom.

These adjust the throttle, electronic stability control, exhaust sound and steering. You can adjust drive modes through presets on the steering wheel, which also has a button for the i20 N’s rev-matching feature.

Up front, it looks like a shrunken i30 N, especially in that car’s classic Performance Blue. Compared to the regular i20, which again won’t be sold here, it’s 10mm lower and has a more aggressive stance.

Around back, there are tail lights that are somewhat reminiscent of those on the new i30 Sedan, as well as a rear diffuser and triangular rear fog light much like those of the i30 N. It’s topped with a WRC-inspired spoiler.

Hyundai says the tail lights, darkened compared to the regular i20, are supposed to resemble a black diamond.

It’ll be available in six colours: Performance Blue, Intense Blue, Polar White, Sleek Silver, Brass, and Phantom Black, with all available with a Phantom Black roof.

Headlights are LED while all i20 Ns will have matte grey 18-inch alloy wheels in 215/40 R18 Pirelli P-Zero tyres with N-branded brake callipers.

Hyundai has made just as many changes to the interior of the regular i20 to make the i20 N. These include sport seats, an N steering wheel and shifter, and metal pedals. The interior is available only in black, albeit with Performance Blue accents throughout.

A digital instrument cluster is standard, while a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is optional.

The i20 N comes with Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite, which includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as lane-following assist, intelligent speed limit assist, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, driver attention monitoring, adaptive high-beam and rear cross-traffic alert.

We’ve already driven a prototype of the i20 N and can confirm it’s a lot of fun.

That’s due to its gutsy engine, its light 1190kg kerb weight, and its nimble chassis that’s been tuned under the watchful eye of N boss (and former BMW M boss) Albert Biermann.


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