Remember the i30 N Project C Hyundai teased last month? It’s been fully revealed at the Frankfurt motor show along with a list of specifications that make us even more jealous it’s not coming to Britain. If you need reminding, the Project C is a lighter, sharper version of the N division’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, Hyundai’s high-performance test area at the ‘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 – including a set of forged OZ wheels, which together shave 22kg off the i30 N’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 C’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 – in fact all modes will be.
Hyundai has trimmed its Project C cabin with Alcantara, wrapping the touchpoints – the steering wheel, handbrake and gear lever – 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 car’s build number. But only if they live on the continent, because it definitely isn’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.
That’s all the technical information we have for now – not that further details matter for those of us in Britain, since Hyundai’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 it’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 car’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 can’t help but feel a bit (a lot) left out, what with Britain arguably being the spiritual home of the hot hatch – and the place Ford thought was most deserving of a special, coilover-wearing version of the Fiesta ST. Nevertheless, if you’re on the continent, orders for the roadgoing i30 N Project C should open swiftly after it’s world debut next month. Yes, we’re jealous.