Hyundai confirms i20 N to arrive in 2020 after brand’s hiatus
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 () No new N performance products for 2019, but Fiesta ST rival and hot Tucson on the cards for 2020
Hyundai will briefly halt the expansion of its N performance range this year, as the firm gets ready to launch its next significant hot model: the Fiesta ST-rivalling i20 N.
Plans for the Korean maker’s performance sub-brand were first detailed in 2017, before the first production model, the warmly-received i30 N, followed at the end of the year. The i30 N Fastback then followed a year after.
2019 will be a quiet year for the N division, however with resources instead directed to launching Hyundai’s electrification strategy with the Kona Electric, updated Ioniq and further plug-in models to come.
After years of rumours, company sources have finally confirmed to Autocar that the i20 supermini will be the next N-car, and could be ready for reveal by early 2020. Original rumours cited a release for such a car some time in 2018, but the launch was pushed back down the list of priorities.
The i20 N’s engine changes and chassis modifications will mirror that of the i30 N, so expect significantly more firepower than the supermini’s existing engine range and suitable lowering and stiffening of the car’s suspension, alongside performance brakes and more direct ratio steering.
The most likely engine candidate to boost performance to the desired level will be the brand’s widely turbocharged 1.6-litre ’T-GDI’ motor. It offers 174bhp in the Tucson SUV, but a figure of at least 200bhp will be necessary if Hyundai wants to successfully mix with the class big hitters like the Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI.
Next in line will be a long-rumoured N-branded version of the Tucson. The hot SUV will push the envelope in terms of power for Hyundai, with over 300bhp expected to give it the performance potential to take on the Cupra Ateca. It will be supplemented by a four-wheel drive system, and is expected to arrive a few months after the i20 N.
*Matt Saunders and Lawrence Allan*
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