The Ford Fiesta ST finally has something to worry about. Its long-awaited Hyundai i20 N rival is now here, and on paper, it looks to be shaping up very nicely indeed.
As revealed from our recent i20 N prototype drive, the hot hatch newbie is powered by a 1.6-litre inline-four turbo engine. This produces 202bhp between 5500 and 6000rpm, while peak torque of 203lb ft is felt from 1750 to 4500rpm. It’s reasonably light at 1190kg, making for a 0-62mph time of just 6.7 seconds. The top speed is 143mph.
All of that grunt is sent through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, and a manual gearbox only – there’s no mention of an automatic option. Keeping the traction in check is an ‘N Corner Carving Differential’, which despite sharing a name with the electronically-controlled setup in the i30 N, is, in fact, a mechanical LSD.
Normal, Eco, Sport, N and N Custom modes are available through the (sigh) ‘N Grin Control System’, and there’s a three-stage ESP with on, sport and fully off settings. For further electronic trickery, Hyundai has added launch control and an auto rev-matching feature.
There are plenty of hardware changes, too. 12 different chassis points have been reinforced, and the suspension geometry has been rejigged, with an increase in negative camber. The front anti-roll bar, springs and dampers are all new, while the brake discs have had a 40mm growth spurt at the front.
So it looks the part, the i20 N gets a new front bumper, bigger side skirts, a rear diffuser and a decent-sized rear wing. Smart-looking 18-inch wheels have gone in at each corner, wrapped in bespoke 215/40 Pirelli P Zeroes.
The cabin’s been an abundance of Performance Blue bits and pieces, most notably the drive mode buttons on the new N steering wheel. To complement the wheel, there’s an N-branded gear knob and N-branded pedals.
The i20 N will go on sale Europe-wide from Spring 2021. We don’t know how much it costs, but given how keenly Hyundai has priced the bigger i30 N, we could be looking at a circa-£20,000 bargain here.
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