Auto Review: 2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance

IF it’s a five door hatch that’s fashionable and cute, but large enough to comfortably convey you and your friends for a nice trip away, that you seek, then we’re sorry, you’ve come to the wrong place, because the 2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance ain’t that car.

If that’s what you want, the exit is the third door on the left. No, the i30 N Performance is fierce and angry, it’s powerful and it’s a giant killer. It’s got enough power on tap to whip a Golf R and quite frankly, it’s off chops.

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s damn good to look at. It’s not crazy hardcore with lots of lines and angles, and it looks quite reserved for the potential new king of hot hatches. You might even say it’s refreshing.

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Painted Performance Blue, in the case of our test car (it just happens to be the signature N Performance colour too), it’s trimmed with a vibrant red line at front and rear, a gloss black rear spoiler and chrome tipped exhausts.

It rides on 19-inch two-tone rims and low profile rubber, and everything is proportioned just right. It’s got pretty much LED everything when it comes to front and rear lighting, including daytime running lights.

We have to say though, while it comes in five other colours (Polar White, Clean Slate, Phantom Black, Engine Red and Micron Grey), Performance Blue is the only colour to choose. It just looks special (although it took some serious discussion to make that call).

Inside you get lots of black and grey. It doesn’t grab your attention with anything special but it is also not underwhelming either, well balanced you could say.

Suede look leather accents and performance blue stitching cover the twelve way adjustable electric seats, which if you choose to add the luxury pack, come heated, as does the steering wheel.

You also get wireless smartphone charging, smart key push button start, integrated memory system, front parking assist, rain sensing wipers, power folding mirrors, and rear privacy glass.

That’s not all though, as the additional $3,000 cost also gets you LED courtesy puddle lamps, solar control windscreen glass, a luggage net and electro-chromatic interior mirror. When you buy your i30 N Performance, choose it, it’s worth it.

The standard specs are pretty damn good though, with lots of cool gear including an 8-inch multimedia touch screen systems, with stacks of short cuts, along with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, live traffic, SatNav, and USB and iPod connectivity.

All this is delivered through a six speaker sound system that is okay, but won’t shake any teeth loose. Cup holders and storage are sufficient too, and there’s not one, but two 12-volt sockets in the front.

The seats in the rear are very nice, but there’s not loads of leg room, it is a hot hatch after all. It all blends together nicely really. But what are we doing here, you want to know more about the hot hatch thing don’t you?

Right then, let’s jump back to that heated leather steering wheel, and some special buttons. One of those buttons controls the usual Eco, Normal, Sport functionality you might expect in a hatch.

The other, well it’s super special. It has a chequered flag on it so you know it’s not a normal button. It’s the N button, that lets you jump into well, N mode (or N Custom mode as well, but who needs to be technical).

Cue God-like choir music, because N mode turns your subdued little i30 N Performance into just that, an angry little performance car that wants to slap the nearest WRX STi or Golf GTi up the side of the head.

It adds the milk to the rice bubbles to make them go snap, crackle and pop. And go snap, crackle and pop it does, creating an exhaust note that turns heads, literally – and here’s why.

It’s powered by a twin-scroll turbo charged, direct injection in-line 2.0-litre 4 cylinder engine (16 valve, DOHC, DC-VVT), that unloads 202kW and 353Nm down to the ground via a six speed manual transmission with rev matching.

And if you’re not salivating already, add in an electronically controlled mechanical limited slip diff, rack mounted motor driven power steering, and cushion it all on electronically controlled MacPherson struts in the front and Multi-link in the rear.

We’re not done yet though, as it also comes with 345mm ventilated discs on the front and 314mm ventilated discs on the rear to bring you to a screaming stop. In case you were wondering, the N mode is a reference to the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

It’s of significance to this car, because Hyundai spent 500 laps and 10,000km getting the i30 N Performance, just right – and get it right they did. It’s not just good as a first time performance car model, it’s damn good – straight up.

Dare we use the initials rather than the words; OMG this thing is awesome. So much power, so much response, so much torque steer (not always a good thing), but it will have you grinning from ear to ear every time you unload the accelerator to change gear.

It’s not just the rev matching system either, it’s the noise. Oh the noise. Then when you get yourself to a safe legal place, you can push the ESC button until the traction control goes off (and hold a little longer to disable brake management).

Hello left foot braking while accelerating, and hello near euphoric driving experience. But if your not into that kind of thing, or you wanna lend it to your mum to drive, then it handles just like a normal car when you drop back to Normal or Eco mode.

Hold down that throttle for a bit longer, or hold that gear just a smidge more, it will remind you with a kick of oxygenated power, that “hey, N mode over here, go on, I won’t hurt you, okay look maybe yeah we could get in trouble. But it will be fun”.

Let’s backtrack a little here, if you keep your finger on the N mode button for a bit longer you get N mode custom which allows you to tweak, well, bloody everything. There are 1994 possible combinations to enjoy, and we wanted to try all of them.

To get yourself into a 2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance, you’ll need to part with $43,880 for the standard version, or $46,970 if you want the luxury pack as well. Prices are drive away.

Our test vehicle was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance, contact your local Hyundai dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness


Pros - angry; good looking; fun.
Cons - eco mode; torque steer; plain interior.
Ben Bonatesta
Ben Bonatesta
Ben Bonatesta is a genuine lover of nice things and quality workmanship. He also has a thing for stuff that isn't practical, but has that wow factor. A frustrated creative writer, Ben has a varied work history that has allowed him to pilot everything from top of the line sports cars to dirty old work trucks, farm equipment, and even trains.



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<strong>Pros -</strong> angry; good looking; fun.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> eco mode; torque steer; plain interior.Auto Review: 2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance