Hyundai ready to take on the Volkswagen Golf GTI

HYUNDAI is getting closer to launching its first proper performance 'hot hatch', writes William Scholes.

The car, based on the i30 hatchback, will be the first to wear the 'N' badge that the company wants to apply to its sporty models.

Hyundai has been hammering prototypes around the testing Nürburgring race circuit in Germany and it has carried out winter testing in Sweden with its World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville.

As part of the development programme, it has also put the i30 N through its paces on UK roads - hot hatches and performance cars sell particularly strongly in our market.

Hyundai says it has chosen the 'N' badge because it "stands for Namyang, Hyundai Motor's global R&D Centre, and for the Nürburgring, one of the most demanding race tracks in the world and home to Hyundai Motor's European test centre".

"The 'N' logo resembles a chicane, representing the ultimate driving experience on winding roads," it explained.

On the UK part of the testing programme, the engineers were working to fine-tune the i30 N's adaptive suspension and different drive modes.

"We are getting closer and closer to the final development stage of the i30 N," said Albert Biermann, the former BMW M boss who was poached by Hyundai and Kia to build its new range of performance cars and make all its cars more fun to drive.

"The road testing serves to check if the driving performance of our first Hyundai N high performance car can meet our future customers' requirements.

"We have to make sure that on these challenging UK roads the driving performance is also well suited to everyday use.

"There are plenty of fun and challenging corners out here - the N team loves corners."

The production version is due to be launched later this year.

Less performance-focused versions of the new Hyundai i30 have already reached showrooms


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