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Hyundai i20 N due in 2020

A Korean rival to the Ford Fiesta ST is in the N division pipeline

By Sam Sheehan / Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fans of hot hatches have a new reason to celebrate today as Hyundai has reportedly taken the decision to follow its i30 N with a performance version of the i20. The second N division model looks set to go head-to-head with the likes of Ford's Fiesta ST and Volkswagen's Polo GTI from 2020, likely producing around 200hp from a pepped-up version of Hyundai's turbocharged 1.6-litre four-pot.

Although not yet publicly announced, Autocar claims to have confirmation that this smaller hot hatch is already under development. It reports that the model will precede the rumoured Tucson N that executives recently revealed was a priority, suggesting the N division may have shuffled its upcoming model schedule - a move that ought to appease its fans.

We'd like to think PH has played a part in encouraging Hyundai to bring an i20 N to market sooner rather than later - the prospect of one has certainly gone down well on the forums. Or, perhaps, it was Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann who has convinced the board to go with the more naturally sporting bodyshape first. It is the model Hyundai fields in the World Rally Championship with a 1.6-litre engine, after all.

That direct link with Hyundai's motorsport programme might enable the N division to do something slightly more bonkers than the norm in the compact performance class. Plus, Hyundai develops all of its cars with stints at the Nurbugring and the N division is keen to build up a Renault Sport-esque following of proper enthusiast drivers. Certainly the i20's compact wheelbase should make it easy to unlock serious wheel-cocking potential from the chassis.

While we'd love for Hyundai to copy and paste the wide-arch design of its i20 WRC onto the road car - we'll take ours with a pea shooter exhaust and bucket seats, please - it's more likely that we'll see larger wheels, wider tracks and more sporting bumpers blended into a subtler body. Perhaps there'll be a prominent boot spoiler as well that nods to the enormous one on the rally car. Some tarmac rally tyres wouldn't go amiss, too...

What else would you like to see on the i20 N? Assume Hyundai is listening...

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