Taking a little bit of inspiration from Hyundai’s i20 World Rally Championship racer, the new i20 N is one of the hottest tiny-hatches to come around. It’s a quicker, sharper, more hardcore version of the little i20 city car Hyundai sells overseas, and it looks like a total hoot to hoon about in. Alas, the i20 N isn’t earmarked for the United States.
Even so, here are the highlights of this little hot hatch—there are many. The i20 N is ready to chew up racetracks and autocross courses thanks to its turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that makes 201 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque. That power is sent exclusively to the front wheels by way of a six-speed manual transmission, too.
Hyundai beefed up the gearbox to cope with the N’s extra power. It also features automatic rev-matching for those unfamiliar with the art of the heel-and-toe downshift. Buyers can also spec the car with an “N Corner Carving Differential,” better known to those outside of Hyundai’s marketing department as a limited-slip differential. Thanks to all of its go-fast kit, not to mention a curb weight of just 2,620 pounds, the i20 N accelerates to 62 mph in a reasonable 6.7 seconds.
Additionally, Hyundai endowed the i20 N with a little bit of extra negative camber and stiffened its suspension knuckles, which work with new springs, dampers, and stiffer anti-roll bars to improve this little pocket rocket’s lateral agility. Bigger front brake discs that measure 1.5 inches larger than those of the standard i20 help bring the N to a halt.
Like its Veloster N sibling (a fun hot hatch Hyundai actually sends to the U.S.), the i20 N features five custom drive modes via Hyundai’s N Grin Control system: Normal, Eco, Sport, N, and N Custom. Drivers are able to adjust throttle response, the amount of stability control intervention, the exhaust note, and the weight of the steering.
If all that isn’t enough, Hyundai also throws in its Performance Driving Data System, which allows drivers to record their on-track shenanigans. Put all that together and you have one heck of a compelling package (that we really wish we could get our hands on). The i20 N will go on sale in Europe in early 2021.
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