Skip to main content

Limited-edition Hyundai i30 N Project C is Korea’s hottest hatch

Hyundai launched its N performance sub-brand with the i30 N hot hatchback, but now the South Korean automaker is trying to kick things up a notch. Debuting at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Hyundai i30 N Project C will be a limited-edition model that weighs less and has sharper handling. Like the standard i30 N, the Project C won’t be sold in the United States.

The Project C gets its name from “Area C,” a test track at Hyundai’s Namyang, South Korea, research and development center, where N performance models are tested. Weight savings are what separate the Project C from a standard i30 N. The car is 50 kilograms (110 pounds) lighter, according to Hyundai. That’s thanks to carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts, including an unpainted hood that makes the Project C look like the cover car from an early 2000s tuner magazine. The 19-inch wheels are specific to the Project C, and are lighter than the wheels used on the standard i30 N, as are the Sabelt bucket seats, according to Hyundai.

The front splitter and rear diffuser are made of CFRP as well, and they aren’t just for looks. Hyundai claims they provide aerodynamic downforce that will make the Project C quicker around a racetrack, or along a twisty road. Add-ons like these can create aerodynamic drag, limiting top speed and hurting fuel efficiency, but Hyundai claims the Project C has the same 0.32 drag coefficient as the standard i30 N.

Hyundai did not make any changes to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which makes the same 271 horsepower as the current i30 N Performance model. Hyundai also sells an entry-level model with the same engine, tuned to 247 horsepower. Both models have 279 pound-feet of torque, and feature six-speed manual transmissions with front-wheel drive.

Production of the Hyundai i30 N Project C will be limited to 600 units — all destined for Europe. Hyundai doesn’t sell the i30 N in the U.S., so the Project C never had a chance of being imported. Hyundai sells the base, non-N version of the i30 in the U.S. as the Elantra GT. You can have a 201-hp N-Line version of that car, but not the full N model.

Instead of the i30 N, the U.S. gets the Veloster N, which is based on the same basic platform and uses the same engine. The main difference is the body: The i30 is a conventional five-door hatchback, while the Veloster has an unorthodox three-door layout. Since the two cars share so much, maybe Hyundai will create a limited edition of the Veloster N as well.

The Hyundai i30 N will make its public debut at this week’s 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. Hyundai will also unveil an electric race car at the show.

Updated on September 11, 2019: Added details and camouflage-free photos.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more
Cruise says it’s nearing approval for mass production of futuristic robotaxi
Interior of Cruise's Origin vehicle.

Robotaxi company Cruise is “just days away” from getting regulatory approval that would pave the way for mass production of its purpose-built driverless vehicle, CEO Kyle Vogt said on Thursday in comments reported by the Detroit Free Press.

General Motors-backed Cruise unveiled the vehicle -- called Origin -- in early 2020, presenting the kind of driverless car that we all dreamed of when R&D in the sector kicked off years ago; a vehicle without a steering wheel and without pedals. A vehicle with passenger seats only.

Read more
Modern cars are a privacy nightmare, and there’s no way to opt out
Elon Musk smirks while pointing.

Cars are changing, and quickly. Electric cars are on the rise, and at the same time, manufacturers are pushing autonomous driving technologies -- even if we're still a while away from actual self-driving cars. But there are other aspects about cars that are changing too -- the fact that they're becoming increasingly connected, and increasingly computer-controlled. And, with all the data that cars can collect, privacy is becoming increasingly important.

Turns out, however, cars aren't that great at preserving your privacy. In fact, they're terrible at it.

Read more