Hyundai i30 N: Korea's Golf GTI rival revealed

Hyundai i30 Tourer 1.4 T-GDi Premium SE 2017 review

The N Custom mode enables drivers to opt for opposing settings for each, such as allowing the auto to run with the softest ride but harshest drivetrain mode.

Standard to both is a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, driving the front-wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.

Other systems and features of note include a five-mode driving selector with racy "N" and "N Custom" settings, adjustable suspension, a stiffening bar behind the rear seats, sports seats and a variable exhaust valve system with an electronic sound generator.

The first model is the i30 N, a hotted-up version of the Volkswagen Golf-rivaling i30 hatchback which is on sale in the United States as the Elantra GT. The standard tune generates 246 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque while an available Performance Package lifts the power to 271 hp but keeps torque at 260 lb-ft.

The i30N sits 4mm lower than the standard vehicle and receives twin exit exhausts at the back, along with 18inch or optional 19inch alloy wheels, which sit ahead of N-labelled brake callipers to signify the i30N's performance.

Hyundai will offer the new i30 n in six exterior paint finishes, including the exclusive Performance Blue you see in the gallery.

If that blunts its image don't fret, as Hyundai have done masses of work turning the engine into a proper performance motor. But an optional performance pack edges maximum power output up to 271bhp, helping to trim the 62mph sprint time to 6.1sec - making the i30N comfortably Hyundai's quickest model. Top speed is an impressive 155mph.

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While it's been confirmed that the new i30 hatch will be with us in South Africa in the last quarter of 2017, there's no clarity yet on whether we will be getting the Fastback as well.

The i30 N's front crossmember is completely unique and features special suspension geometry and settings to help with crisp turn-in and maximum traction, while the rear multi-link is similar to an i30 SR's hardware, but enhanced by unique spring rates. Cycling through the modes adjusts the car's damping harshness, engine responses and exhaust volume.

Mechanically, the Performance Package is the more intriguing proposition, though.

Visually aimed more at the Golf GTI and Peugeot 308 GTi than the raucous looking Honda Civic Type R or Ford Focus RS, the i30 N is more about subtlety, adding a measured amount of aggression to the slightly limp looking standard auto.

The overall boxy shape responds well to the design modifications, set off with the larger 18 or 19-inch wheels depending on whether you choose the performance pack.

There's also downshift rev matching, an overboost feature that boosts torque by eight percent (to around 380Nm), and launch control.

Pricing will be announced closer to the i30 N line-up's local launch date, but expect the pair to be positioned below the manual Golf GTI ($41,490 before on-road costs) and its Performance Edition 1 derivative ($47,990) respectively.

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