THE i30 N brought Hyundai to the fore when it came to hot hatch performance back in 2016, so it was no surprise we were excited to test the next generation version, now available with a dual-clutch transmission, alongside a 6-speed manual, for the first time.
The first of our two test vehicles was indeed the traditional stick shift variant, in Engine Red, and loaded with the Premium add-on package. Car number two was the DCT version, in Shadow Grey, this time sans the extras options.
Among the differences for 2022, you’ll notice changes to the 19-inch alloys, which are now a beautiful satin grey colour, with thin spokes to show off the large red brake callipers emblazoned with the N logo.
Refreshed headlights, which now have a long daytime running light strip in the shape of a V are also new, with the taillights delivering a similar look that looks exceptional in low light conditions.
Inside, the cockpit has gained some upgraded tech, with a large 10.25-inch infotainment system, which now doubles as a secondary instrument cluster, with added gauges and vehicle management in certain driving modes.
There’s also a plethora of menus and options which you won’t be able to explore in one sitting. The leather appointed steering wheel and matching gear knob are comfortable in each hand, and are not overly large or overbearing, but also not too thin and flimsy.
The Alcantara appointed seats on the manual spec were the icing on the cake, with plenty of bolstering for track use, while remaining comfortable for casual road driving. There’s also a spectacular illuminated “N” logo on the seat back.
Our DCT i30 N retained the standard N Sport cloth seats, which also had extended bolsters as well as Performance Blue stitching. Steering wheel buttons were a little bit different on the DCT model too, but otherwise the interior was largely identical.
Under the bonnet, both models are powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder powerplant, which makes power figures of 202kW and 378Nm, to the front wheels.
The 6-speed manual retains its feel from the previous generation of the i30 N. Short throw, notchy and it feels almost like it’s gated. Not a bad experience to be had. It’s a comfort to drive in any road condition and is very forgiving in rush hour traffic.
Hyundai’s anti-stall technology paired with a very lenient clutch pedal makes life easy. The dual clutch variant on the other hand, is even easier to drive. Not only can you forget about having to use your left foot, you don’t even need to use your left hand to change the gears.
i30 N’s are well known for being absurdly loud for a factory standard car. Depending on your drive mode, the valved exhausts will either close to keep the car quiet, or open to perforate yours and anyone in the vicinity’s eardrums.
But the gear changes are where all the fun is in one of these things. In the manual, you have crackles and pops on downshifts and even deceleration. The burbles are a little more tame in the DCT.
Upshifts in the latter though are reminiscent of Volkswagen’s patented DSG, which make a loud noise on upshifts. We were surprised the first time we heard it as it’s very unusual coming from a Hyundai.
The noise you’re hearing is basically fuel being burnt in the exhaust rather than in the engine, while the gearbox changes the gear in a split second. It’s truly magnificent in the i30 N.
Performance aside, both variants are reasonably comfortable for everyday driving duties, so long as you keep the car out of Sport or N modes. We recommend using N custom settings, with everything on Sport, except for steering and suspension.
Leave those last two on Comfort, because leaving the dampers on Sport or N will see you needing to deep heat your backside after you get out. Instead, Comfort will soften the dampers and lighten the steering for you.
Let’s face it, you’re not going to be needing a track-oriented drive mode to go buy some groceries around the corner. That N mode we’ve been talking about is truly the secret sauce to the i30 N’s performance.
Use it once and you’ll be addicted, just like we were. It actually livens up the entire car. Exhaust note, engine, transmission, handling, seriously all of it, and it is amazing. In this mode, the car truly belongs on a race track.
There’s also an NGS button on the DCT version, which unloads maximum performance from the gearbox for about 20 seconds. It’s quite handy when you’re trying to overtake on a highway or when you’re following a truck on a road with broken lines.
There’s the additional NTS (N Track Shift) mode too, which unleashes another level of transmission mapping when the car senses you driving on a track, as well as launch control.
Aside from the poor fuel economy we managed in both test vehicles (around 10.3-litres/100km), there’s practicality too, including front parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep and lane following assist, as well as blind spot monitoring.
There’s 381-litres of boot storage, which expands to 1287-litres with the second row folded down. There’s also a handy cargo net to restrain your goods. There are ISOFIX points on each outboard rear seat as well as three anchor points behind the second row.
Some might even call the i30 N an angry family car. Should you and your small humans desire one, there are six colours to choose from, including Dark Knight Grey and Phantom Black, along with the colours we mentioned earlier.
For $44,500 excluding on-roads for the 6-speed manual and $47,500 for the DCT, the i30 N is bang for buck one of the most price competitive performance hatches in its category. The Premium pack adds an extra $3,000 on top and is only available in the manual variant.
You can opt for a premium sunroof pack on any variant. Hyundai also includes a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, as well as offering roadside assistance and service plans for the life of the car.
The combination of an excellent price, a well engineered turbocharged engine, a strong chassis and two sporty gearboxes to choose from makes the 2022 Hyundai i30 N a force to be reckoned with.
You can build and price a new i30 N DCT or Manual hatch on the Hyundai Australia website, but it’s also worth shopping around to see if you can get a better offer. Alternatively, you can take a look at a platform like PriceMyCar to get the best deal.
Our 2022 Hyundai i30 N Premium Manual and i30 N DCT were supplied by Hyundai Australia. To find out more, contact your local Hyundai dealer. Pictures courtesy of Brakefast Media.