Watch out Polo GTI, Hyundai is working on a performance variant of the new i20 hatchback and work on the newcomer appears to be at an advanced stage, as we see in the teaser video below.
This is the first time that Hyundai has ‘officially’ confirmed that there’s an i20 N on the way, although a previous teaser showing a darkened silhouette of the new hot hatch all but gave the secret away back in March.
The new teaser video shows Hyundai’s world rally ace Thierry Neuville having some fun icy fun in Lapland in his WRC race car, but at the 2:10 mark we see him taking to the wheel of a disguised prototype of the upcoming i20 N production car, which he describes as “very precise” with electronics that “keep the driver in control at all times”. Later he praises the revviness of the engine and describes the noise as “interesting”.
Despite what the video might imply, it’s unlikely that the showroom-spec i20 N is going to be closely related to the all-wheel-drive rally car, with many sources abroad stating that it will be a front-wheel drive hatch powered by a 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine, with around 150kW on offer.
While this means it won’t be a direct rival to Toyota’s all-wheel-driven GR Yaris, it’s easy to see where Hyundai is going with this new N. Rather than join the Toyota in a small and expensive niche, the i20 N is likely to gun straight for the Polo GTI’s heartland, where sales success is achievable.
But given the impressive work that the Korean carmaker’s performance division has done on the i30 N, we’ll bet our bottom dollar that the ‘kid brother’ is still going to be a joy to drive.
By Jason Woosey