i30 N: the best European driving routes for having fun

- Hyundai Motor recently unveiled the high-performance i30 N, designed to offer the ultimate fun to be had while driving. Here are the best driving routes to get the most out of this corner rascal.

The All-New Hyundai i30 N is an everyday sports car, whether it’s being operated for the daily commute to work or for race track performance at the weekend. It has been developed by Hyundai Motor's engineers to make the driver’s heart beat faster when he or she gets behind the wheel. The i30 N features five drive modes, including Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom settings, which are adaptable to any type of road. It loves corners, and its powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine delivers up to 275 PS and 35Nm torque.

From spectacular mountain passes to a world-class racing track, we’ve selected three of the most exciting European driving routes that were made for cars like the i30 N.

Route de Gentelly, France

Located deep in the Alpes-Maritimes in southern France, the Route de Gentelly is one of the most scenic drives in the country. It’s recommended drivers begin their journey in the picturesque town of Vence, which is dotted with cobbled paths and rustic buildings, before heading up in the mountains to Col de Vence. This 19,3 km pass “only” has a height of 963 m at its peak, but far from being an underwhelming driving experience, it features a road lined by rocky green verges and lots of enjoyable corners.

From here, the road continues through to Gréolières, a village surrounded by rugged mountains and cliffs, and then onto the picture-perfect Route de Gentelly (D2). Along this road, drivers will encounter many twists and turns, with a host of stunning views of the deep green mountain valley behind every corner.

D2 Curve, Route De Gentelly, France (Alastair Cummins, Flickr)

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Back in 2008, the Stelvio Pass was declared “best driving road in the world” by the BBC’s Top Gear; high praise indeed. Located in the Ortler Alps in Italy between Stilfs in South Tyrol and Bormio in the province of Sondrio, the Pass is just 200 m from the Swiss border. It’s also the highest-paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, sitting 2,757 m above sea level, making it one of the most dramatic driving routes on the continent.

The route is best approached from the north west side as from this direction you’ll get to drive up the Pass’ famous wall of switchbacks and experience the Stelvio National Park before starting the ascent. This route takes drivers through stretches of alpine forest and several kilometres of fast, sweeping roads. As well as offering magnificent views, the Stelvio Pass will satisfy all your cornering needs as it boasts a heart-clutching 48 hairpin turns.

The Stelvio Pass, Italy. (Kylie & Rob (and Helen), Flickr)

Nürburgring, Germany

Scenic mountain passes aren’t the only way to get your cornering kicks in Europe, as there are a number of open race tracks. The best of these is the iconic Nürburgring in Germany, which is also home to Hyundai Motor’s European Test Centre, where the i30 N was developed and tested. The i30 N has undergone 10,000 km of driving on the Nurburgring's famous Nordschleife track for durability testing. The car has also twice taken part in the world's toughest endurance test, the ADAC 24 Hours Nurburgring. Drivers can therefore be sure that, when taking the i30 N to a track day, the car's performance will endure.

Meanwhile, the ’N’ logo stands for Namyang, Hyundai Motor’s global R&D Centre in Korea, and the Nürburgring, and even symbolises a chicane, which represents the ultimate driving experience on winding roads.

The i30 N has demonstrated its race track capability after undergoing 10,000 km of durability testing.

Since opening in 1927, the Nordschleife track has been used by driving enthusiasts and riders from all over the world. The circuit is 20,8 km long, and open to the public for “tourist drives” almost every day of the year. Nicknamed “the Green Hell” due to its demanding nature, the Nordschleife features 73 corners and a height difference of 300 m between its highest and lowest points, making it one of the most demanding race tracks in the world. Two close-to-production i30 N cars undertook their final endurance tests at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race. Both cars completed a total of 244 laps, equal to more than 6000 km on the race track, proving the i30 N is tailored to the Nürburgring.

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