Hyundai i30 N Project C | Frankfurt 2019

Remember the i30 N Project C Hyundai teased last month? Itโ€™s been fully revealed at the Frankfurt motor show along with a list of specifications that make us even more jealous itโ€™s not coming to Britain. If you need reminding, the Project C is a lighter, sharper version of the N divisionโ€™s five-door hatch, based on the 275hp Performance variant and set to be built in just 600 units.

Its name is a nod to Area C, Hyundaiโ€™s high-performance test area at the โ€˜Ring, as well as an attempt to highlight its use of carbon fibre and, err, to emphasise a lowered centre of gravity. The latter drops by 8.8mm, helped in part by a 6mm lower ride height and a 50kg weight loss thanks to a whole host of new bits โ€“ including a set of forged OZ wheels, which together shave 22kg off the i30 Nโ€™s mass.

The carbon bits contribute to a large portion of the rest of the diet, with the most significant uses of CFRP coming in the Project Cโ€™s bonnet, sills and backs of its Sabelt sports seats. There are also new aluminium rear hubs that take 4.66kg out of the car; they come as part of chassis enhancements intended to sharpen handling further, including retuned dampers and stiffer springs. Yes, that means N mode will be even harder โ€“ in fact all modes will be.

Hyundai has trimmed its Project C cabin with Alcantara, wrapping the touchpoints โ€“ the steering wheel, handbrake and gear lever โ€“ in the stuff. The N mode button is now orange, by the way, matching the stitching on those Sabelt chairs, and buyers get a new badge on the dashboard displaying the carโ€™s build number. But only if they live on the continent, because it definitely isnโ€™t coming to Blighty. Deliveries across the Channel start later this year.

Previous story - 10.09.2019

Hyundai will launch an even more sporting version of its i30 N that takes inspiration from the N Option concept, building on the top 275hp Performance variant with track-honed upgrades. Set for reveal at the Frankfurt motor show, the changes include a set of firmer springs, lightweight 19-inch alloys and carbon fibre reinforced plastic bumpers, as well as a more prominent front splitter and finned side skirts to work the air harder.

Thatโ€™s all the technical information we have for now โ€“ not that further details matter for those of us in Britain, since Hyundaiโ€™s fettled hot hatch is to be produced in only 600 units and all will be left-hand drive. If you think that seems odd, so do we, because the i30 N has proven popular in the UK, where itโ€™s done a whole lot of good for the brand amongst British enthusiasts.

Why exclude the UK? Perhaps Hyundai believes a firmer spring setup might nudge its five-door Focus ST rival too far to the stiff side for British roads. Indeed, the standard carโ€™s N Mode has consistently shown itself to be too hard for our uneven surfaces - although our old longtermer did fare rather well with the setting on circuit. More often than not, though, PH found the softest suspension settings were perfectly capable of delivering the most suitable on-road performance.

Still, we canโ€™t help but feel a bit (a lot) left out, what with Britain arguably being the spiritual home of the hot hatch โ€“ and the place Ford thought was most deserving of a special, coilover-wearing version of the Fiesta ST. Nevertheless, if youโ€™re on the continent, orders for the roadgoing i30 N Project C should open swiftly after itโ€™s world debut next month. Yes, weโ€™re jealous.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (24) Join the discussion on the forum

  • FaNtheMaN26 20 Aug 2019

    That is bizarre...sales and marketing dept your all fired

    I reckon a few existing owners would have traded up and they'd have sold the 600 easy

    Still, I am happy, standard one almost as good as my type R already ;-)

  • Limpet 20 Aug 2019

    Just wondering how well the i30N has sold in the badge/image-conscious UK market, and whether the decision not to release the Project C in RHD could be a reflection of potential demand. These cars are still a pretty rare sight on the roads here in the UK. I reckon I've personally seen no more than a handful of them since they were launched.

    I haven't seen any recent figures, but I remember reading a year or so ago that 60% of the European sales at that point were in Germany. I can't find any reference to UK sales figures, but howmanyleft suggests just 17 Ns, and 1,200 N Performance models are registered. I can't believe it's that low in reality, but also can't help wondering if it's not doing so well here.

  • cookie1600 20 Aug 2019

    So reading between the lines, am I right in saying our crap roads are making international car manufacturers think about not selling vehicles here?

    I thought £millions were being spent filling in pot-holes and other road surface improvements (clearly not in Sussex)?

  • untakenname 20 Aug 2019

    Had a play with an i30 on track last year and it seemed pretty rapid but the exterior needs a bit more work imo to differentiate it from a cooking i30, some flared arches and wider track would help imo.

  • A86D 20 Aug 2019

    I love my i30n. This doesn’t seem to bring much else to the table though ? Would be nice for a little power boost. And has been mentioned some sort of styling that differentiates it from the standard offering.

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