All-new 2021 Hyundai i20 N hot hatch revealed

The compact hot hatch market is firing up at the moment, and now Hyundai has just unveiled its little i20 N firecracker. It has been confirmed it will be heading to Australia in 2021.

Coming in as the next step in Hyundai N’s progressive new product rollout, the i20 N is the third bespoke performance model. It is based on the overseas-only i20 hatch, but engineers at N Performance have given every corner of it a complete overhaul, all in the name of enhancing the fun of driving.

Under the bonnet is, as expected, a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 150kW and 275Nm. This is the same engine that’s found in the Veloster Turbo, however, N has given it an exclusive turbocharger, unique cooling system, and a 350-bar high-pressure fuel injection rail. There’s also a barking exhaust system.

Across the 0-100km/h sprint, Hyundai claims the clock stops in just 6.7 seconds. Keep it pinned and it tops out at 230km/h. This will go down very well in its market segment, competing against the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI – for some reference, the best 0-100km/h we’ve achieved in the Fiesta ST is 7.01 seconds.

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Of course, it isn’t all about power and speed. The engine is connected up to a six-speed manual transmission, with launch control as standard. Buyers can also option for a mechanical limited-slip differential which Hyundai calls the “N Corner Carving Differential” option. This promises to provide optimum traction and a more agile drive experience.

Just like the i30 N, the i20 N features a range of driving modes and cool driving functions. For starters, you have N Grin Control System with Normal, Eco, Sport, N, and N Custom modes. There’s also automatic rev-matching during downshifts, which is switchable, and an on-board Performance Driving Data System to track driving skills, power and turbo boost status, and a lap and acceleration timer.

The i20 N also comes with unique sports suspension which lowers the ride height by 10mm over the regular i20, and there’s an exclusive aero kit with front and rear spoilers, a rear diffuser, and discreet red highlights as per N tradition. A set of custom 18-inch wheels complete the look, wrapped in special Pirelli 215/40 tyres.

Other highlights include a unique steering system which uses a quick gear ratio of 12.0:1 as compared with 12.4 in the regular i20, and the hot hatch is given sports brakes with front discs that are 40mm larger than the regular i20.

Being a practical hatchback, Hyundai has done extremely well with packaging. Inside is an optional 10.25-inch touch-screen offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, while a host of advanced safety systems come as standard as part of Hyundai’s SmartSense suite. Some of the tech includes autonomous emergency braking with forward pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Hyundai Australia says local specifications and prices will be announced closer to its local launch, planned for the “first half of 2021”.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.