We knew it was likely, but Hyundai Australia has confirmed the i20 N hot hatch will hit showrooms next year, alongside an updated version of its i30 N big brother.
It’ll also be a competitor to Toyota’s much-anticipated Yaris GR, though that hardcore turbocharged three-pot screamer is expected to belong to a higher price echelon.
Like the hardcore Yaris, Hyundai taps into World Rally Championship bonafides with the road-going i20 hot hatch. And like the i30 N, it’s been honed under the watchful eye of former BMW M head and now Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann, at the Nurburgring.
Hyundai hasn’t given us any mechanical details yet, though it has been testing prototypes in Northern Sweden, and has also put out a teaser video of a camouflaged i20 N being driven by its WRC star Thierry Neuville.
Hyundai promises that “as with other N models, the i20 N will be racetrack capable and street legal”.
In terms of powertrains, two options present themselves: a detuned version of the i30 N’s 2.0-litre turbo four or an angrier version of the ubiquitous 1.6-litre used in the i30 N-Line models.
We’d expect a six-speed manual gearbox to feature, and potentially a version of the eight-speed DCT automatic with paddles that’s about to be launched in the updated i30 N.
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 Fiesta ST and Polo GTI’s 147kW or the wild Toyota Yaris GR’s bonkers 200kW. In the interest of undercutting the i30 N on price we’d guess at the former.
The i20 N will likely be front-wheel drive like its i30 sibling, though Hyundai is reportedly working on a Kona N that will be the first N car with all-wheel drive.
As with the ST-only Fiesta range, no other i20 derivative beyond the N will be coming to Australia to slot beneath the Venue as Hyundai’s price leader.
The car is made in Europe and therefore too hard to source cheaply, given exchange rates and traveling costs.