Hyundai to expand N sub-brand to include i20 in 2018 | CAR Magazine

Hyundai to expand N sub-brand to include i20 in 2018

Published: 15 June 2017

► Hyundai plots i20 N
► Next hot hatch confirmed
► A proper Fiesta ST rival 

Hyundai’s go-faster director Albert Biermann, former engineering head of BMW’s M division, has confirmed there will be more ‘N’-developed cars from the Korean car maker.

The first hot hatch, the i30 N, isn’t even in showrooms yet, and its boss is already talking about a new sister car. 

This is good news, because it shows that the company is serious about glamming-up its image, especially in Europe and the USA, where – as one Hyundai spokesperson told us – ‘the company’s struggling in terms of brand perception.’ 

As well as building great track-focused drivers’ car primarily for the European market, the N sub-brand will act as a halo product for Hyundai as a whole. Although Biermann wouldn’t be drawn on which model would be next to get the N treatment, he did confirm that it would be coming in 2018, and that it would have the same ‘emotion’ as the i30.

Hyundai i20: the next hot hatch

Given the focus on the European market, and the need to capitalise on the 2017 World Rally Championship campaign, it’s clear that the next N model will be the i20. The new car will go head-to-head with the Ford Fiesta ST and Suzuki Swift Sport when it goes on sale, and will be rather more potent than the current (Indian-market) i20 N Sport above that you can currently buy in India, and which develops 120bhp.

The Biermann-developed i20 N is likely to pack between 170-190bhp, and is likely to be powered by a tuned version of the 1.6-litre Gamma engine found in the new Kona. Expect it to continue the i30’s track-biased handling, aggressive bodykit, and drive select modes.

Sounds good… when can I buy a Hyundai i20 N?

Expect it to hit showrooms towards the end of 2018, although given the pace of Hyundai’s development team, and the amazing R&D facilities at their disposal both in Korea and Germany, don’t be surprised if pre-production versions start surfacing in and around the Nurburgring as early as next spring.

The N sub-brand will continue to grow, with Biermann promising that the US market will receive something ‘very special’ when its first model is rolled out after that. 

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR