Hyundai i30 N is ready to take on the VW GTI

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We've already had an early drive in a heavily-disguised Hyundai i30N test mule, but these are the first official pics of the South Korean brand's all-new Golf GTI-rivalling hot-hatch. Launch control and a rev-matching function both feature, plus five selectable driving modes and electronically managed suspension. That's an encouraging thing to see in a press release.

The i30 N sports a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which packs 247bhp in the standard vehicle and up to 271bhp in the Performance Package model. It has an electro-mechanical limited slip diff and a shorter final drive ratio which contribute to lowering its 0-100km/h time to 6.1 seconds. Under the hood of the i30 N is Hyundai's 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine, which is making 246 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Safety is just as important in an "everyday sports car" as performance, so the i30 N will come with an optional 8-inch touch screen for maximum legibility, which features navigation as well as information on horsepower, torque, turbo boost as well as a lap and acceleration timer.

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The base model will offer 250PS (246hp) whereas the Performance Package version is rated at 275PS (271hp). Inside is the same grown-up interior and easy-to-use infotainment system.

The tachometer's redline also changes, BMW M3 style, depending on whether the engine oil is up to temperature or not. There's launch control, a rev-match system on downshifts and, like a VW Golf R, a resonator at the base of the windscreen to make angry engine sounds. How does it drive?

Pricing will be announced closer to the i30 N line-up's local launch date, but expect the pair to be positioned below the manual Golf GTI ($41,490 before on-road costs) and its Performance Edition 1 derivative ($47,990) respectively. The Fastback also has a unique grille design, a unique bumper and LED daytime running lights. New air inlets are added to each corner of the car's front end, aiding aerodynamics and brake cooling.

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Around the back, a sizable wing sprouts from the top of the i30's tailgate and houses a triangle-shaped stop lamp.

Purists may be let down by the i30 N's electronic sound generator which pumps fake engine noise into the cabin, but will be elated by the Performance Pack's inclusion of a variable exhaust valve system that alters the volume of the hot Hyundai's bark.

The i30 N is Hyundai's first concerted effort to offer a bona-fide performance product, and is the culmination of years of intense development - including 10,000km of driving on the Nurburgring Nordschleife alone, plus a stint in wheel-to-wheel competition at the gruelling ADAC Nurburgring 24-hour. It will be available in six different exterior colors: Performance Blue (shown), Clean Slate, Polar White, Micron Grey, Phantom Black and Engine Red. Additional performance frosting includes special pedals, N-branded door sill plates, and so on.

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