Hyundai could soon have a rival to the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI in Australia.

    The Korean brand has confirmed it’s working on a hot version of its recently-redesigned i20, and it’s looking good for an Australian launch.

    The i20 N will be the company’s first hot light car and will slot in under the critically-acclaimed i30 N.

    A spokesperson from Hyundai said, “We’ve made no secret of the fact our focus is on building an N performance family in Australia, and we are likely to take i20 N. But nothing is confirmed at this stage.”

    Hyundai i20 N: Fiesta ST rival likely for Australia

    The company has teased the upcoming hot hatch getting put through the paces on a frozen lake in northern Sweden alongside its WRC counterpart.

    The i20 N naturally won’t be as powerful as the WRC car, which pumps out 283kW and 450Nm from its turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. It will, however, be a big bump in power from the most powerful i20 currently available.

    The punchiest i20, for now, uses a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine producing 88kW and 172Nm.

    Hyundai hasn’t released any technical details of the i20 N yet, so we don’t yet know if its power and torque outputs will be closer to the Ford Fiesta ST (147kW/290Nm) or the wild Toyota Yaris GR (192kW/360Nm).

    For context, the car’s i30 N big brother produces 202kW of power and 353Nm of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

    The i20 N will likely be front-wheel drive like its sibling, though Hyundai is working on a Kona N that will be the first N car with all-wheel drive.

    Hyundai i20 N: Fiesta ST rival likely for Australia

    We also expect a six-speed manual transmission to be standard, though Hyundai has recently revealed its first automatic N models. The Veloster N and i30 N will soon be available with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

    The front and rear of the i20 N are covered with camo but we can see larger, star-shaped alloy wheels with exposed red brake callipers.

    Expect the i20 to be lowered slightly in N guise, with a full raft of enhancements under the skin like retuned springs and dampers. There’ll also likely be revised front and rear bumpers.

    Hyundai i20 N: Fiesta ST rival likely for Australia

    As with all regular third-generation i20 models (above), the i20 N has five doors.

    Though Hyundai has ruled out the regular i20, there’s precedent for a car company to exclusively offer the hot versions of their European-focused light cars.

    Ford, for example, now only offers the sporty ST variants of its Fiesta. Renault also only sold hot variants of its third-generation Clio here. 

    In addition to the photos, a couple of teaser videos show Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville testing the i20 N prototype, the i20 WRC rally car and the RM19 “rolling lab”.

    The RM19 – short for Racing Midship – is a prototype vehicle with a 287kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mounted on the rear axle.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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