As an automotive enthusiast, I am always wading through the hype on the hunt for hot hatch heaven. Following a week with the Hyundai i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition (a mouthful!), this hot hatch got my full attention. This car has been generating a lot of hype in the automotive world, and for good reason.
Of the 800 being built, 180 are coming to Australia with aggressive dark bronze matte forged 19-inch alloy wheels, special badging, and a dedicated colour scheme. The i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is quite rare.
The Hyundai i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is a compact hatchback designed with mega-performance in mind. It is the latest addition to the i30 N range – Hyundai’s high-performance line of cars. It features several unique design elements that set it apart from the regular i30 N model. Unfortunately, the gurus at Hyundai N didn’t get to tweak the engine, steering or suspension of the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition, so it’s no quicker than the standard or performance versions of the i30 N.
The Drive-N treatment builds on the rock-solid performance credentials of the i30 N, adding a host of special styling updates, including a red accented interior, Alcantara finish on the steering wheel, gear lever, armrest, and handbrake, plus exclusive decals and blacked-out Hyundai badging.
The pricing of the Drive-N Limited Edition is $1,000-$1,500 higher than the top-spec i30 N Premium. Of the 200 editions coming to Australia, 54 will be manual, and around 70% will be finished in the Serenity Pearl White finish. I think the Phantom Black Pearl is the better-looking of the two.
The i30 N is one of the most exciting and capable hot hatches today. Producing 280 horsepower and 392Nm of torque, a superb 2.0-litre turbocharged engine sits under the hood. A choice of six-speed manual transmission or eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (N DCT) co-ordinate the power delivery to the front wheels. Either option provides a very engaging driving experience.
The i30 N also comes with several performance features that help it stand out from the competition, including an electronically controlled suspension system, an electronic limited-slip differential, and launch control.
We compared the price, power and torque of the Hyundai i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition to the most obvious competition. The i30 N comes out on top in terms of bang for your buck.
The i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition takes the vivid performance of the regular i30 N to the next level. Lightweight dark bronze matte forged 19-inch alloy wheels, which reduce unsprung weight and improve handling, are a very welcome addition. The Drive-N Limited Edition also comes with high-performance 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero tyres, which provide excellent grip and traction for a front-wheel drive car with 280 horsepower.
In addition to the wheels and tyres, the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition has several other visual enhancements over the regular i30 N Premium. These include slightly daggy red, black and gold decals down the side of the car and blacked-out Hyundai badging front and rear – which look great. Unique Drive-N badging appears just forward of the front door.
Each i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition car is badged with its build number. The badging includes the GPS coordinates of the Hyundai Engineering Centre at the Nürburgring, where the i30 N range has been extensively refined. These customisations extend to a limited edition Drive-N Limited gold keyring.
Driving the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is its most redeeming feature. Every element combines to make any spirited drive a memorable one. N driving mode buttons on the steering wheel deliver instant changes to the car’s dynamics. Steering, throttle, eLSD, and the throaty exhaust note are all enhanced and customisable.
If you want 20 seconds of everything turned up to 11, then NGS is for you. N Grin Shift (NGS), N Power Shift (NPS), and N Track Sense (NTS) are all standard factory tune-ups at the touch of a button. Traction control can ruin launch control but not in the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition. In this car, it’s savage.
The i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition represents excellent value for money when you consider the level of performance and the quality of the build. The car starts at $53,200 for the manual and an additional $3,000 for the 8-speed N DCT auto. As we illustrated above, this is more expensive than some of its competitors, but it is still much more affordable than some of the higher-end performance cars on the market. When you factor in the unique design elements and the high-quality materials used in the construction of the car, it becomes clear that the Drive-N Limited Edition represents a great value proposition for anyone looking for a high-performance hot hatch.
The i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is a striking car that will turn heads on the road. To my eye, the i30 N is one of the best-looking sport-hatches on the market. Its wide track front and rear with low profile Pirelli P-Zero tyres give the i30 N real road presence. Thankfully, this presence translates to responsive handling in normal Comfort mode or in one of the two Custom drive modes.
Inside, the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is a lovely place to be. Lightweight front seats comprise a single piece for the backrest and headrest. Three red stripes indicate the scarcity of the model, and an illuminated N is striking in the dark. Consequently, the driving position is excellent and surprisingly comfortable. The side bolsters on the base of the seat don’t take too much effort to vault, so egress and ingress are uneventful.
While the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is a high-performance car, it happily functions as a daily driver. Just not if the year you were born is the 70s or 80s. I know what to look for in cars like this – I drive them all the time. The average boy (or girl) racer from the 20th century won’t use most of the cool tech on this car.
The i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is well-equipped. Standard features like a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, climate control, and heated seats are expected. Everyday use of the i30 N is further promoted with above-average cargo space. However, mind the rear suspension bracing.
Parking can be a punish thanks to the turning circle on the i30 N. Low speeds can also get the heart racing, but not in a good way. Heavy steering and not damaging the alloys is all hard work.
Please don’t confuse these minor niggles with negativity. No car is perfect, but if I were in my twenties today, this would be very hard for me to go past.
As I hand the keys to the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition back to Hyundai, I can confidently say that this car is worth the hype. It is an incredibly capable and engaging hot hatch that offers excellent value for money. Its unique engineering, design elements and eye-popping performance help it to stand out from the competition, and its comfortable interior and practicality make it a viable option for everyday use.
It can be harsh and thirsty and noisy, but it can also be smooth and nimble and practical. Go ahead and spend a lot more money on something faster and more refined, but I guarantee the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition will live up to the hype a lot longer.
If you are in the market for anything high-performance right now, the i30 N Drive-N Limited Edition is definitely worth considering.
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