While the soon-to-be-unveiled i30N will mark the Korean automaker’s first product from its new high performance division, the same rival marques that it’s aiming to beat also offer smaller hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Ford Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208 GTI, and Renault Clio RS. It’s a space in the market the the N Division is keen to fill after having their way with the i30, AutoExpress reports.
Enter an i20 N, a pocket rocket that Hyundai plans to unleash following the car’s strong performance in the World Rally Championship and based on the second-generation i20 hatch that was launched in 2014. Of course, the project of a smaller hot hatch will have to wait until confirmed high performance variants such as the Veloster N and i30 N Fastback see the light of day. By then, it’s possible that a third-generation i20 will be on the cards for a coinciding launch.
Former BMW M bigwig Albert Biermann, who heads up the new high-performance department within Hyundai, is very much in favour of a small hot hatch to rival those aforementioned contenders, saying: “Of course. Why would we limit ourselves to C-segment? […] There’s a good market out there.”
The i20s of today (not sold in Australia) are powered by a selection of small capacity petrol or diesel engines, though a potential N version could potentially have the 1.6-litre T-GDI four-cylinder turbo-petrol from the Veloster Turbo shoved under its bonnet, producing in the vicinity of 147kW, matching the capacity and output of most of the current hot small hatches out there.
Just like how the i30 N range will look in a couple of years, the five-door i20 N will be styled more conservatively while the 3-door ‘Coupe’ will have the wiggle room to be more liberal with its motorsport-inspired niche appeal.