► Hyundai’s first e-hot hatch scooped
► Expect nearly 600bhp at summer launch
► Battery brawn = 3.5sec 0-62mph
This is our best look yet at the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 N SUV. We’ve seen spy shots of the forthcoming performance electric SUV for a while now, but these are the most revealing so far – and give us a good look at the Ioniq 5 N’s aggressive styling: the front splitter is lower and has broader vents than the standard car’s, the rear diffuser is more aggressively styled and there’s a larger spoiler sprouting out from the tailgate. The uprated brakes are massive, too – with huge front discs visible inside the rims. Take a look at the pictures and you’ll find a significantly meaner car than before.
When it arrives in summer 2023, it’ll serve as a fresh rival for the hottest versions of the Tesla Model 3, as well as combustion-engined hot hatches like the Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-AMG A 45.
What else do we know?
The new 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will spawn an entirely new breed of hot hatch when it launches this summer: the saintly whisper-quiet, 600bhp all-wheel drive electric express. Don’t expect a flyweight nimble e-GTI – but it’ll certainly pack a punch. Think Group B, but in a retro-futuristic mega hatch.
Hyundai has revealed details of the Ioniq 5 N’s extreme testing plan. In addition to the tarmac of the Nordschleife, Hyundai’s hot SUV also needs to contend with the sub-zero temperatures of Arjeplog, Sweden. Mercury as low as -30 degrees celsius and low-grip surfaces offer yet another challenge to develop the first EV N model for.
‘Just as our N models are honed at the sharp corners of the Nürburgring, our N models are also honed at the sharp corners and icy surfaces of our proving ground in Arjeplog, ensuring maximum performance in the most extreme winter conditions,’ said Till Wartenberg, vice president of N Bband management & motorsport sub-division at Hyundai. ‘We’re proud to demonstrate the Ioniq 5 N perfectly meets our broad performance criteria, ensuring N brand success as our first EV production N model.’
Battery brawn: the fastest electric cars
Thus far, Hyundai has been rather discreet about the Ioniq 5 N’s performance, but we expect it’ll feature the same 577bhp dual-motor electric powertrain as its sister car, the Kia EV6 GT. Both are based on the same e-GMP underpinnings, so the more potent electric motors and larger battery pack should bolt straight into the Hyundai hot hatch.
Expect 0-62mph in the 3.0-4.0sec bracket. Giving the car something like the dynamic flare and grace of the i30 N and (US-market) Elantra N won’t be easy, but N has the pedigree to pull it off. Just don’t expect the lightweight feel of an old-school hot hatch.
To take advantage of the extra grunt, Hyundai has made some changes to the Ioniq 5’s chassis. This prototype’s ride height is fractionally lower than the standard car’s, while its track is broader for a more athletic stance. Its alloy wheels are new, too – they’re wider, larger and shod in grippy Pirelli P Zero tyres.
We’re also expecting some trick adaptive dampers to help keep the body under control in the corners. It’s gonna need it: the regular Ioniq 5 feels quite a heavy, roly-poly car…
Baby-blue paint is a given, as are lightweight performance wheels wearing sticky rubber. But there’ll be clever stuff too, like an uprated cooling system to boost performance repeatability and unique settings for Hyundai’s N Sound+ synthesiser, which will gift your hooliganism a suitably raucous soundtrack. The regen will also be tuned to provide left-foot braking without involving your left foot…
A few months before Hyundai made the announcement about the Ioniq 5 N, Thomas Schemera, Hyundai Motor Group’s chief marketing officer, discussed his company’s upcoming hot electric vehicles with CAR magazine. ‘If you look at our strategy to offer more eco-friendly vehicles and moving ahead with BEV concepts, it seems realistic [to launch an Ioniq 5 N],’ he admitted.
Albert Biermann, the ex-BMW executive who launched Hyundai’s N department back in 2012 (and who still acts like an ambassador for the division) added: ‘Could you imagine we weren’t working on one already?’
When Hyundai designed its e-GMP architecture (above), it built a lot of flexibility into the platform. For months before it made the official announcement about the Ioniq 5 N, Hyundai’s engineers were stress-testing the chassis to find the limits of its use in performance applications – and they seem to have achieved some impressive results.
Nearly 600bhp: the dawn of the silent electric mega-hatch
Back in 2020, Biermann delivered some of his team’s results to CAR Magazine, mentioning the platform ‘will go almost up to 600 horsepower in certain models.’ That claim adds credence to the assumption that Ioniq 5 N will use the same 577bhp all-wheel drive powertrain as the Kia EV6 GT.
We shouldn’t really expect anything less from Hyundai where electrified performance cars are concerned, though, because they’re not exactly uncharted waters for the brand. Before it started to push the limits of its e-GMP chassis, the firm’s engineers were extracting some impressive numbers from its dedicated performance EV test car called the RM20e (pictured below).
It’s a pure-electric track monster powered by a single 800bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle, which the brand says can shove the car from 0–62mph in less than three seconds. Its 0–124mph sprint is equally impressive, taking a mere 9.8 seconds.
The RM20e is loaded with future-gazing technology, the most important of which is its super-fast charging system. Hyundai says the car’s 60kWh battery pack can accept charging speeds of up to 705kW, which slashes its charge time down to mere minutes. For comparison, the Porsche Taycan (which is one of the fastest-charging EVs) can only accept a maximum charge speed of up to 270kW.
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Hyundai calls the RM20e a ‘rolling lab’ – and the data its engineers have gathered during their time with the car will trickle down into future performance EV production cars like the Ioniq 5 N. And, If the concept is an accurate yardstick for how the company’s hot electrified vehicles will perform, we’re expecting great things indeed.
When can I buy a Hyundai Ioniq 5 N? And how much will it cost?
We expect the fast Ioniq super-hatch to be unveiled in summer 2023, pointing to UK sales starting later this winter.
It’s too early to talk exact prices, but you can already spend nearly £58,000 on a top-spec Ioniq 5 Namsan Edition – so it’s hard to see how the Ioniq 5 N won’t stray well beyond £60k.
An extraordinary price point for a sporting Hyundai? Just goes to show how much change the electric transition is wreaking upon the new-car marketplace…
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