Hyundai has revamped its i30 N hot hatch for 2021, with an upgraded 280hp engine, lighter wheels and, for the first time, a DCT auto option. Coming exclusively in Performance trim now and starting from £33,745 in Britain, the updated hatch can reach 62mph in 5.9 seconds, two tenths better than before, thanks in part to a raising and widening of torque band, which now peaks at 289lb ft.
The mechanical changes - including that optional automatic gearbox - are carried over from the Kona N, which you might remember is exclusively offered as a DCT. But the i30 N does, of course, retain a standard-fit six-speed manual, which we expect to remain the more popular choice. Not least because ticking the DCT box ups the hatch price to £35,695, with the auto Fastback costing from £36,445, £1,950 more than the manual version. All versions get the same electronically-controlled limited slip differential as before.
As you'll have noticed, the car also receives some aesthetic changes as well, keeping it in line with the rest of the i30 range with sharper LED lighting front and rear. But there's more to the tweaks than mere costmetic improvement; the exterior changes include a new front end said to improve cooling, and a set of forged 19-inch wheels that are 14.4kg lighter as a set than the previous rims. They also look great, exposing the N-branded red calipers more clearly, with the same HN-spec Pirelli P-Zero tyre wrapped around them.
It's much the same inside, where there are predictable upgrades to the infotainment system, increasing the display to 10.25 inches; best of all, however, Hyundai now offers a lighter seat specification that is 2.2kg lighter than the standard sports chair. They N Light Sport Seats look the part, too, with leather and Alcantara, Performance Blue stitching and an illuminated N logo on the integrated headrest.
For the dual-clutch model, the transmission's software - N Grin Shift, in marketing speak - is permanently monitoring driver inputs to decide how aggressively to change gear. Should a driver turn up the pace, so to speak, the gearbox will hang onto gears for longer and downshift with more vigour. Of course, you can override it and just click the N button, or indeed, the multiple other customisable settings for throttle, steering and damping.
Those after a new i30 N - it wouldn't be hard to see why - will be pleased to know that orders are being taken now. First deliveries are due in the next few weeks. But if £33k is a bit much, and you don't mind a manual, early i30 Ns are now down to £20k - this one looks very nice indeed.
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