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Hyundai's i20 N has the VW Polo GTI firmly in its crosshairs

Hyundai has unveiled its junior performance hatch, the i20 N

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Following a number of teasers, Hyundai is expanding its N performance range with the introduction of the i20 N that is aimed squarely at the Volkswagen Polo GTI. 

Inspired by the Hyundai WRC rally car, Hyundai says the i20 N is a racetrack capable hot hatch and like its i30 N counterpart, it is fun to drive. 

Speaking of its design, it sits 10mm closer to the ground compared to the standard i20 and comes fitted with a larger air intake and a wide radiator grille with N logo. The front is further dominated by a lip spoiler as well as red accents, which further spill onto the new side skirts. The rear comes fitted with a distinctive WRC-inspired roof spoiler, rear diffuser and borrowed from the i30 N is the triangular rear fog lights and true to the WRC ethos, it also comes with a single large exhaust tip. The i20N rides on bespoke 18-inch alloy wheels that are finished in matte grey that also house the N-branded, red brake callipers. 

The cabin is fitted with form hugging sports seats, N steering wheel and N gear knob as well as N emblazoned metal pedals. 

Power comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 150 kW of power and 275 Nm of torque, channeled through a six-speed manual transmission, replete with rev match technology, to power the front wheels. Hyundai says the i20 N weighs only 1 190 kg, similar to the i20 Coupe WRC, and its power-to-weight ratio is one of the best in class. In the performance stakes, the i20 N scoots from rest to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds before hitting the top speed limiter at 230 km/h. 

There is no definite word from Hyundai SA as to whether the i20 N will be offered on our shores, but surmising that the likes of the Volkswagen Polo GTI are already playing in this space, and as the South Korean marque wants to increase its performance catalogue, we wouldn't put it past them bringing it to the performance crazy Mzansi market.



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