See it at the show. Hyundai i30 Fastback N. One of, if not the, best front wheel drive cars on sale today.
Think back a few years and the thought of Hyundai embedding itself as an established competitor in a performance car segment would have raised a few eyebrows. Hyundai built a reputation for making reliable, well priced cars, but with little in the way of driver appeal — however the success of the i30 N has proven that wrong.
The i30 N hatch has quickly earned a name as one of the best cars in the hot hatch segment, immediately bringing real weight to the ‘N’ badge. We were amongst those absolutely bowled over when we first tested this car.
Following the i30 came the Veloster N for global markets (not UK bound, sadly) and now there’s a third model in the range — the i30 Fastback N, which Hyundai will be bringing along to the Leasing.com London motor Show for its first major UK outing.
Mechanically similar to the i30 N hatch, the Fastback N brings a real sporting edge to the four-door variant — but can it match the success of its hit sibling?
Keen to retain the formula that made the hatch so good, the fastback ensures that under the skin there aren’t many differences between the Fastback N and its hatch equivalent, and that’s a very good thing.
That means it uses the same 2.0-litre, 271bhp powertrain along with the same clever technology to keep that power on the road — namely its electronic differential and torque vectoring systems.
There are some changes though, with a handful of visual tweaks made both inside and outside the car to give the Fastback a more distinctive look from the hatch. There’s also a switch to just one trim level in the UK, with the entry-level 247bhp model not coming to these shores.
What’s under the bonnet?
As mentioned, the i30 Fastback N uses the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain as its hatchback equivalent — delivering 271bhp and 353Nm of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
The result is a 0-60mph sprint of 5.9 seconds with a 155mph top speed possible. As for efficiency, Hyundai claims 34mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 178g/km of CO2.
Power delivery from the unit is impressive, with a wide torque band ensuring performance is always on hand. Its six-speed gearbox is crisp, and paired with the standard fit rev matching technology, will make you feel like a driving god on any given B road. There’s definitely a need for a throatier sound from the engine, though.
What’s it like to drive?
The i30 N hatch’s impressive driving dynamics have not been lost in translation over to the Fastback. Monumental amounts of grip remain on offer, and the turn-in response is amongst the sharpest across the whole new car market.
Despite its clinical approach on the road, there’s a playful hint to it too. Get it going on a track and the Fastback becomes prone to a bit of oversteer — but not to levels that can’t be controlled. It remains arguably one of, if not the, best-driving front-wheel-drive cars on sale today.
The i30 N also has Hyundais excellent electronically controlled suspension, torque vectoring system and steering wheel mounted N drive mode buttons, which allows the driver to access and customise engine and suspension settings.
How does it look?
The Fastback N has received a racier treatment to distinguish itself as the performance model for the four-door body style — while also getting a handful of tweaks to differentiate it from the N hatch.
As well as the distinctive body shape, the i30 Fastback N features a number of bespoke exterior features which differentiate it from the hatchback, it benefits from an aggressively-styled bumper with a distinctive red strip, while the rear of the car sees the addition of a diffuser and ducktail spoiler including the N signature triangular lamp. There’s also a model-specific Shadow Grey paint finish.
What’s it like inside?
Jump inside the Hyundai i30 Fastback N and you’ll find everything to be typical of the brand. The interior is well laid out and not particularly fussy. That said, there are some additions to continue the racy feel. Red stitching features on the heated leather and suede seats. Red stitching is also used to detail the gear lever, applied to the gear lever gaiter and gear lever itself, which also incorporates a red feature stripe and N logo. Interior detailing is completed with red surrounds to the driver and passenger side air vents
Similarly, to hatch form, the Fastback N can seat five. There are 436 litres of boot space on offer — down slightly from the regular Fastback’s 450-litre capacity, due to the addition of a chassis stiffening bar behind the seats, although more than the hatch’s 381 litres.
What’s the spec like?
Just one trim level will be offered for the Hyundai i30 Fastback N in the UK — a decision made as a result of the entry-level, less-powerful version of the hatch responsible for only a small fraction of sales on these shores.
The result is bags of standard equipment — with the sole paid-for option premium paint at £585. Thrown in to the package are LED head and taillights, cruise control, keyless entry with a start/stop button plus an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. That’s all on-top of the go-faster mechanical bits, too.
The i30 Fastback N’s instrument cluster is shared with the i30 N, using a 4.2” LCD to display a number of drive mode and vehicle control settings, shift timing lights and a variable LED tachometer, with a maximum engine rev light which adjusts according to engine temperature. The cluster also features soft blue lighting and the Hyundai N logo.
A small premium is commanded by the Fastback N, with its £29,995 starting price £500 more than the hatch in Performance trim.
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N delivers an experience pretty much identical to that of the widely praised hatch. Its driving experience impresses, punching with the established performance nameplates such as Honda’s Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R.
However the Fastback trumps the Hatchback for those where practicality is also an important factor or of course where the more svelte four-door looks appeal more.