The new 2019 Hyundai i30 Fastback N has arrived in Australia packing a fiery 202kW four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine and showing off a swoopy rear-end design.
And while it gives up a smidgen of performance, it delivers improved practicality. The Fastback’s new exterior styling drops the roof by 28mm but extends the rear-end by 120mm compared to its sibling.
That brings about 12 per cent more boot space than the hatch, expanding from 381 to 436 litres, with a maximum of 1337L with the rear seats folded down — up from the hatch’s 1287 litres.
The lower, longer shape and more flowing exterior design also improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics, the co-efficient of drag dropping from the hatch’s 0.32 to 0.29Cd. Despite being able to slice through air molecules more efficiently, the i30 Fastback N retains the hatchback’s 250km/h top speed.
The high-performance N variant will be the only Hyundai i30 Fastback model-grade offered in Australia, with regular i30 Fastback flavours struck off the menu. This makes it a very rare beast according to Hyundai.
“It is unique. There is no other four-door coupe hot hatch available in the market,” said Hyundai Australia’s senior manager of product planning, Andrew Tuitahi.
“It’s all the things that the hatchback is, with everyday drivability, usability, right through to performing on a racetrack – covered by a warranty – and it’s got comfort and convenience features too. It’s the hatchback, but different.”
The hot four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine pumps exclusively through a six-speed manual gearbox – for now – but sports a longer, lither exterior design than its i30 N hot hatch sibling.
Featuring an integrated ducktail rear spoiler, the car is pitched as a more premium offering than the hatch. An eight-speed automatic transmission will be available in 2020, which will increase its appeal significantly, with around 90 per cent of all passenger car sales in Australia being automatics.
Other features new to the Korean slink-mobile include an updated suspension set-up designed to improve ride comfort on the road while making it livelier on the racetrack (see below).
Belting out 202kW of power at 6000rpm and 378Nm of torque at 4200rpm, the Hyundai i30 Fastback N features in-built launch control (with adjustable rev limit), dash-mounted LED shift lights and a reinforcing strut bar in the boot to increase torsional rigidity. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
Standard equipment levels mirror the hatchback, with 19-inch alloy wheels shod with semi-slick Pirelli P Zero HN tyres, a five-year/unlimited-km warranty that covers racetrack use for non-competitive events, five years of roadside assist and lifetime capped-price servicing.
The Hyundai i30 Fastback N cabin’s standard equipment includes fabric sports seat trim, a heated leather steering wheel with ‘N’ performance mode button, alloy pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a race computer, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality.
The interior is almost identical to the hatch save for red highlights around the dashboard and red stitching on the seats. Adjustable settings for steering wheel weighting, stability control and engine response, plus exhaust noise and front differential settings, create almost 2000 different permutations – theoretically.
There are no Brembo brakes to speak of, but the i30 Fastback N comes with 345x30mm front brake discs and 314x20mm rotors at the rear, ventilated all round. An electro-mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted as standard as well.
There are two option packs available: the Luxuxy pack ($3000), which can be paired with a panoramic sunroof ($5000).
The Luxury pack adds front parking sensors, 12-way power adjustable front seats with leather and suede inserts, power folding wing mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats and steering wheel, a luggage net in the boot, keyless entry/start, wireless smartphone charging and tinted rear windows.
A total of six colours are available, including Polar White, Phantom Black, Engine Red, Performance Blue and a new Micron Grey colour.
The 2019 Hyundai i30 Fastback N features recalibrated suspension that included development phases on the Nurburgring in Germany and on Australia public roads, designed to deliver a more ‘playful’ character according to Hyundai. Read: more lift-off oversteer will occur when provoked.
The fastback’s front-end suspension has been softened, via new springs that are five per cent softer, while recalibrated front dampers feature longer, softer bump stops. A narrower-diameter front anti-roll bar, a new camber-control arm at the rear and revised adaptive damper settings round out the chassis updates.
“The suspension tune is a real step forward, from my point of view,” said Bill Thomas, Hyundai Australia’s general manager of PR.
“The ride quality around town and the premium ride comfort has improved, then in the N mode it becomes significantly more tail-happy and fun on track, and turn-in has improved.
“It feels like a more premium product than the hatch. That’s a significant selling point,” said Thomas.
The Fastback N’s suspension changes will be rolled out across the i30 N hatchback in due course, likely in 2020 when the new automatic gearbox arrives.
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