2018 Hyundai i30N Performance Review (On Track)

Driven: 2017 Hyundai i30N Performance Review

I put the 2017 Hyundai i30N Performance to the test on both road and track. It was certainly an exciting car to drive. Here are my thoughts.

What’s the Hyundai i30N Performance All About?

Meet the all-new Hyundai i30N Performance for 2018. Typically, I’d say the i30 is a reasonably sized hatchback with lots of advantages. However, now this car has one new advantage… a powerful 2.0-litre engine that will thrill the nuts off the front wheels. The i30N is available in 250 PS as default with a performance pack available lifting the car to 275 PS.

The styling of the i30N is a little bit more subtle than the likes of the Honda Civic Type R or Ford Focus RS. It reminds me a little of the Mercedes A45 AMG, which is a good style to copy. You’ll notice there is a red line at the bottom of the lower front bumper, an N badge on the front grille. Slick side skirts on the car help to give it a lower stance whilst sitting on those 19″ alloy wheels. At the rear of the car, you’ll see a reasonably sized boot spoiler – this holds the new triangle 3rd brake light. There is also a very stylish rear bumper with a red sporty line on the lower splitter.

The new Hyundai i30N Performance is powered by a 4 cylinder, 2.0-litre petrol engine that creates 275 PS and 353 Nm of torque. This power goes to the front wheels using a 6-speed manual gearbox. It gets from 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 155 mph. It’s very efficient and more than capable of achieving a combined fuel efficiency figure of 36 mpg. So, it will create only 163g of CO2 per km.

How Does it Drive?

It is worth mentioning that this is Hyundai’s first attempt at a performance car and it is a damn good one. With 353 Nm of torque, from 1,500 – 4,700 rpm, which rises to a maximum of 378 Nm when in overboost as soon as you open up the car you notice there is a significant amount of power available from low down in the rev range.

The 275 PS works exceptionally well at pulling the car along. The i30N’s power delivery feels super eager and responsive. I didn’t find it lacking grunt at any point and from my perspective, the amount of usable power is perfect for this car.

The car comes with different driving modes that can each be configured to adjust the suspension, engine output and even exhaust sound to suit your current driving environment and road conditions. You can optimise the car for comfortable cruising or full on track attack. The best part is, this just takes a touch of a button on the steering wheel.

The track mode can really firm up the suspension and enabling rev matching on downshift. You can also get lots of toe-curling pops and bangs out of the exhaust. But you won’t be using that most of the time on the road. You will instead jog between Comfort and Sport. Personally, I thought the Sport setting was the best tuned version of the car. The steering has excellent weight, the throttle is eager but not too extreme, and power delivery is smooth right across the rev range.

When you are going for it, the i30N feels glued to the road. Hyundai has worked alongside Pirelli to create a bespoke tyre to maintain optimum grip. They work really well in a straight line as well as when braking and cornering. To further enhance the grip, they’ve created an electric limited slip differential available on the i30N Performance that really helps you put the power down. Overall, the Hyundai has a smooth and controlled handling feel and minimises torque steer in ways we haven’t seen before with the E-LSD. It’s really rewarding as a driver.

I got to test the car on both road and track in the same day, and got to see the full breadth of the i30N’s capability. On the road, I was very impressed with how usable the power was and the speed you gain in short periods of time. Then on the track the car continued to impress me with endless grip, and its playful yet precise nature as a track car. Next, I was taken out with a professional driver for a couple of fast laps. I was again blown away by the capacity of this car – driven properly, it’s one serious performance car that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Whilst on the track with the car, one of the things I liked the most was the shift lights between the dials on the driver’s cluster. As you get closer to the rev limiter, more and more lights show on the dash. This helps to execute the perfect shift, even when you can’t take your eyes off the road.

The 2017 Hyundai i30N includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert and Blind Spot Detection. The list continues with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Assist System and High Beam Assist. It’s safe to say that twenty-first century technology will seriously assist you here. It might even help to reduce crashes and save lives in the long run.

What’s it Like Inside?

Of course the i30N’s Performance is similar to the standard i30. You get that solid interior with an 8″ display; the touchscreen graphical interface is very modern. It’s simple to use, extremely sensitive to touch and lightning fast to operate. The entertainment system includes radio, USB, Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and of course SatNav. The nav system comes with a 7 year free subscription to LIVE services. This gives you access to information on the weather, traffic, speed cameras and online searches for points of interest.

Which is all great, but what you do want to hear about is the sports seats that do exactly what you want and hold you very tightly in the corners. However, they’re definitely not uncomfortable for long journeys. You will also notice there are two extra buttons on the steering wheel. These are used for the different drive modes; road modes are on the left and track modes on the right.

A couple of niceties was the extra driver information you get in the car. On the driver’s instruments, you can see a range of gauges, like oil temperature to boost pressure. Via the touch screen, you can also configure the drive modes on the car to specifically meet your requirements.

The Experience

The Hyundai i30N lit up the enthusiast driver inside me. The execution of engine and exhaust sound in this car is perfect for its breed and alongside the relentless performance of the 2.0-litre engine, egged me on to stretch its legs and keep the corners coming. There is so much fun to be had out of this car when you have the right roads. But when you’re stuck in traffic it’s no more difficult to manage than your standard i30. Perfect if you ask me.


After spending a day testing out the i30N Performance I was shocked at just how capable this car is. No-one would have thought it possible to drop a new car in the hot hatch market and be as credible as this day 1. It will be a long time until the i30N Performance is respected for how well-tuned it is for UK fast road driving, but for now, we all get the opportunity to buy this underdog before the secret comes out.

People will also argue about the 0-60mph times being slower than some of the competition, but unless you are doing timed races in real life this doesn’t matter. For £26,580 you can have more fun per pound than ever. Of course, the 5-year warranty is there to show buyers that it can be bought with confidence – this also covers track use.

Hyundai i30N


2017 Hyundai i30N Performance

  • Price: From £26,580
  • Engine: 2.0-Litre T-GDi
  • Power: 275 PS 
  • Torque: 353 Nm
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 6.1 Seconds
  • Top speed: 155 mph
  • Weight: 1,429kg
  • Economy combined: 56 mpg
  • CO2: 115 g/km


Author: Paul Hadley