- International motor journalists visited Rome to experience the Hyundai i30 N for the first time. As well as scenic road driving, they also got to take it for a spin on the race track.
Famous for its food, history and culture, Italy is also a haven for car enthusiasts. The country has a rich automotive pedigree and is home to several iconic race tracks, as well as the sort of picturesque winding roads that attract producers of programmes like Top Gear to film segments there. These factors made it the perfect setting for Hyundai Motor’s i30 N Driving Experience. For one week in September, journalists from throughout Europe descended upon the country’s capital, Rome, to drive the i30 N for the first time.
The i30 N is based on three cornerstones
The i30 N is Hyundai’s first high-performance car under the N line-up. The idea was born at Hyundai Motor’s global R&D Centre in Namyang, Korea before being developed and tested at Hyundai Motor’s European Test Centre at the Nürburgring in Germany. The ‘N’ logo represents both of these places, as well as symbolising a chicane, which represents the ultimate driving experience on winding roads.
The i30 N is based on three cornerstones under the ‘Fun to Drive’ theme: Corner Rascal, Everyday Sports Car and Race Track Capability. The i30 N Driving Experience was designed to demonstrate these aspects, as participants got to enjoy a mix of urban driving routes, curvy roads and some laps around the Autodromo Vallelunga race track.
The i30 N is an Everyday Sports Car
In the morning, the journalists were handed a set of keys so that they could drive a shiny new i30 N. The day's agenda included a number of different experiences, allowing the drivers to discover the emotional i30 N and learn more about the N brand. The groups were instructed to head north to the Autodromo Vallelunga, where they would get the chance to unleash it on the race track and experience some technical workshops with Albert Biermann, Hyundai Motor's Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development. The other groups spent the morning enjoying a scenic drive through rural Italy close to Vallelunga, taking in small towns such as Trevignano, Nepi and Faleria along the way. In the afternoon, the groups switched around.
This initial drive demonstrated the i30 N’s capability as an everyday sports car, and one that is just as practical for daily commuting to the inner-city as it is doing laps around a racing circuit. This is thanks in large part to its five drive modes, including Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom, which allow drivers to adjust the character of the car. For this first journey, the motor journalists had the chance to assess the i30 N’s credentials as a pure hatchback by experiencing these different modes.
Testing the i30 N’s Race Track Capability at Autodromo Vallelunga
During its durability testing phases, the i30 N underwent 10,000 km of driving on the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring to ensure it demonstrated full race track capability and can endure the demands of the circuit. Once the motor journalists arrived at the Autodromo Vallelunga, they were invited to test out the i30 N’s high-performance credentials over several hot laps of the track, which featured two pace cars and professional racing instructions. Hyundai Motorsport's i30 N TCR was also tested on the track during the event.
The i30 N’s Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS) allows drivers to adjust the car so it is race track-ready. This function also reduces roll and enhances corning speed, while maximum grip is achieved with 19-inch Pirelli high-performance Hyundai N tyres. By switching to N mode before hitting the throttle, the journalists were able to experience the i30 N’s Launch Control, which controls engine torque when starting from a standstill. This helps to launch the car like a professional racing driver by releasing the clutch pedal within five seconds after full throttle acceleration.
As they raced around the circuit, the journalists were able to live-track their laps thanks to the i30 N’s 8-inch free-floating screen, which measures key performance parameters and features a G-Force meter.
N-workshops in the pit lane
The journalists partook a series of workshops in the pit boxes at Autodromo Vallelunga, discussing key elements of the i30 N's design features, as well as performance and safety packages.
Albert Biermann led the Development of N workshop, which focused on the i30 N's high-performance features according to the car's three pillars: Corner Rascal, Everyday Sports Car and Race Track Capability.
The Motorsport workshop was presented by Stefan Henrich and Andrea Adamo, who discussed the history of Hyundai N as well as the R5 and TCR Customer Racing programmes.
Finally, the journalists assembled for the N Tyre Workshop, introduced by a Pirelli expert, who outlined the technical specifications and advantages of Pirelli Hyundai N tyres.
A scenic drive with a Corner Rascal
The drivers also got to test out the i30 N on the winding roads of rural Italy, experiencing its love of corners due to the N Corner Carving Differential (E-LSD), which enhances grip and delivers power to the asphalt. This function makes the i30 N particularly fun to drive around bends as it increases the car’s maximum cornering speed.
The i30 N’s rev matching function helps the vehicle shift smoothly through its gears. Rather than measuring revs per minute (RPM), Hyundai opted to emphasise the driving pleasure and emotional impact on each driver’s heartbeats (BPM).
The journalists could rest assured they were safely equipped to negotiate unfamiliar roads thanks to the i30 N’s class-leading safety package. Like other i30 body types, the i30 N democratises technology by offering the latest active safety features, such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW).