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Hyundai has taken the wraps off its latest high-performance model, the all-new i20 N, a race track capable hot hatchback inspired by the i20 WRC rally car.

The new fast lane model offers fun to drive characteristics thanks to its exclusive engine performance and dynamic technology innovations and it joins the i30 N and i30 Fastback N among Hyundai’s high-performance club. The i20 Coupe WRC, a rally car based on a highly modified version of the road-going i20 has the same weight as the minimum weight required in FIA World Rally Championship and it has led Hyundai to success. In 2019, they were crowned the WRC manufacturers’ champion after securing four wins during the season and to date, Hyundai has scored a total of 17 wins at the highest level of international rally competition.

The new road car presents an uncompromising and powerful look to match its undiluted high-performance experience and the exterior design of the model emphasises its high-performance nature by combining elements of Hyundai’s rallying heritage with the company’s latest sensuous sporty design identity, which creates an emotional appeal for drivers. It adds aerodynamically functional forms to the sporty and dynamic styling of its base model, the class-leading Hyundai i20, such as a 10 mm lower ground clearance. The front is dominated by the bumper with a larger air intake for the turbo engine. The wide radiator grille with N logo features a unique pattern inspired by a chequered flag, underlining the all-new i20 N’s race track capability. Below the grille, a lip spoiler featuring Tomato Red accents further enhances the model’s performance-oriented design.

This colour extends to the new side skirt and the rear, emphasising its width. Meanwhile, unique side sills reinforce the link between the front and rear of the car. At the rear of the new model a distinctive WRC-inspired roof spoiler enhances downforce and underscores the aerodynamic nature of this car so that it is fun to drive on any road and helps maintain stability even at high speeds. A rear bumper with built-in diffuser-like elements and triangular rear fog light echo the iconic light shape found on the i30 N and i30 Fastback N. In addition, a big single exhaust emphasises the high-performance potential of the engine. Other design highlights include front LED headlamps, while the darkened tail lamps resemble a black diamond and further sporty credentials are accentuated by bespoke 18 inch alloy wheels with a grey matte finish and N-branded brake callipers. There are six exterior colours including the N signature Performance Blue livery, which is exclusive to N models, and an optional Phantom Black roof for a two-tone style. Additional Tomato Red accents further emphasise Hyundai’s motorsport DNA.

The sports theme continues to the interior with a high-performance driving space with a host of N-specific advanced and high-tech premium features; dedicated sport seats with an integrated headrest that are unique to this model, as well as N steering wheel and N gear knob and sporty N metal pedals. The black interior features Performance Blue accents throughout and all black head lining.

The digital cluster and AVN screen include features such as the variable LED red zone, which varies according to engine oil temperature, and the shift-timing indicator, which shows the driver the best time to switch gears. Saving the best to last power is courtesy of a 1.6 litre turbocharged GDi engine with a six-speed manual transmission. This engine is the first of a new generation to feature in a European Hyundai model, and delivers a maximum output of 204 PS and a maximum torque of 275 Nm. Looking at performance, rest to 100kph (62mph) in 6.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 230kph (143mph). Like its cousin the i30 N, the i20 N boasts a range of high-performance driving features such as Rev Matching which synchronises the engine to the output shaft and has its own dedicated activation button on the steering wheel. This allows smoother or sportier downshifts, depending on the drive mode. With launch control, the engine and traction control are optimised for quick acceleration from a standing start just like a professional racing driver. Other motorsport-inspired features include an electric sound generator, variable muffler control for the perfect exhaust sound, as well as left-foot braking calibration, a brake pad wear indicator and dedicated 215/40 R18 Pirelli P-Zero ultra-high-performance tyres.

Ian Lynas

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