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Hyundai Kona N and i20 N due in 2020

Korean performance division will add pepped-up Fiesta ST and Puma ST rivals to its lineup

By Sam Sheehan / Friday, March 27, 2020

The Hyundai i30 N will soon gain two new performance siblings in the form of the hotly anticipated i20 N hatch and, as revealed by fresh spy pictures from the Nurburgring, a Kona N crossover. The latter will go up against Ford's Puma ST in the fast-growing junior segment, most likely using the same turbocharged 1.6-litre engine as the i20 N to send an anticipated 200hp through the front wheels.

In much the same way Ford's hot Puma has inherited some of the Fiesta ST's character, expect the two upcoming Hyundais to feel very much related. Both are due with stiffened up springs and dampers, firmer bushes and anti-roll bars to enhance agility. It's also likely that they'll come with six-speed manual gearboxes as standard - although the Kona N will almost certainly get an auto version as well.

Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann is, of course, overseeing the development programmes, so doubtless the powertrain will customisable. But with the lower starting prices of these more compact N division models, we reckon they'll get passive shock absorbers, rather than the adaptive stuff featured on the i30 Ns. If that speculation proves correct, it means the resulting N mode would be limited to throttle response and exhaust noise - presumably a decent amount of it from the Kona N, given the girth of those tailpipes.

Such character is also hinted by what we can see of each model's design, which have gained camouflage as development has progressed. That's probably because later prototypes are wearing production-representative bodywork, which we take to include roof spoilers, bulkier bumpers and larger wheels. Inside, there'll be N division flashes on high-spec versions of each cars' cabin, with sports seats and N division steering wheels to provide the driver with the customary touch points.

Both cars were expected this year until the coronavirus pandemic took hold, so it's now less clear when they'll arrive. That being said, the spied test cars look to be in the closing stages of development, and Hyundai will likely want to return to its fast-paced momentum when the global situation improves. Either way, we're excited to see if the manufacturer can successfully migrate the i30 N's character into smaller, more attainable models. The Fiesta ST could certainly use the competition.

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