Hyundai recently announced that it will not launch a standalone sports car in the foreseeable future because the segment is steadily shrinking. However, that doesn’t mean the company is giving up on performance models altogether.
A new report finds Hyundai will woo speed junkies at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show by introducing the first member of its long-awaited N performance sub-brand. Based on the i30, a Euro-flavored hatchback designed to take on the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus, the N-badged model will allegedly use the same turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine found behind the front seats of the insane mid-engined Veloster RM15 concept that was presented last spring.
The four-banger will be tuned to send approximately 300 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque to all four wheels, though whether power will go through an automatic or a manual transmission is up in the air at this point. Regardless, Hyundai clearly has the Golf R in its crosshairs.
Designed with input from Hyundai’s WRC team, the i30 N will be built in the Czech Republic and primarily aimed at buyers in Great Britain, France and Germany, markets with a historically large appetite for light, powerful hot hatches. It won’t be sold in the United States, but a similarly powerful model could make its way to our shores before the end of the decade.
Confirming a recent rumor, John Elsworth, the chief operating officer of Hyundai’s Australian arm, revealed that the N treatment will most likely be applied to the entire Hyundai lineup, not just small Euro-centric hatchbacks.
“There really is a place in this market for sporty SUVs and sporty mid-sized cars,” the executive hinted in an interview with GoAuto.
If the report is accurate, Hyundai will unveil the i30 N online in the weeks leading up to the Frankfurt show and it will go on sale across the Old Continent before the end of the year.