The Hyundai i30 N will be three years old next year (how time flies!) which means a mid-life facelift is due at some point soon; while we're expecting the usual minor tweaks here and there, there will also be some pretty substantial new additions beneath the skin. Top of the expected list is Hyundai's DCT automatic, which Albert Biermann has previously confirmed will make it to the i30 N. But there'll also be further tweaks to the chassis in anticipation of new rivals - another Golf GTI isn't far off, for example - and, somewhat surprisingly, it looks like a new exhaust system is coming, too.
Before we get to the prospect of that likely even more anti-social setup, the seven-speed DCT stands out as the most significant new arrival for 2020. For starters, it'll broaden the i30 N's appeal, while also slightly quickening straight-line performance and knocking a gram or two off the CO2 figures. And it means for the first time the i30 N can join the likes of Ford's Focus ST and VW's Golf GTI in coming with a choice of two transmissions.
The i30 N Fastback was given new bushes and slightly revised suspension settings to match when it launched early this year, improving ride comfort and refinement. Those tweaks will be added to the hatch in 2020, but we're expecting a second batch of chassis updates to accompany them - PH understands Hyundai is keen to rival the Golf's broad chassis talents so this has been high on the agenda during development. While it's not like the i30 N is far from stiff in normal modes (that excludes the teeth shattering N mode!), there's certainly scope for a slackened off comfort.
It won't all be about plushness, however, as illustrated by the new exhaust and wheels fitted to the spied test cars. The twin pipes are of bigger bore and those wheels look ever so racy, suggesting the 2020 i30 N might be even more vocal in its more focussed drive modes - and could be wearing aggressive new details under all that cladding. Such changes would certainly help extend the i30 N's USP against rivals; although it won't necessarily mean more power from the T-GDi 2.0-litre at this stage. Further into the future, however, we're still optimistic of a more powerful option - as previewed by the recent Time Attack car and its larger turbocharger...
Images: S.Baldauf/S.B. Medien