Hyundai has just launched its new i30N in South Africa. The new car is a fresh contender in an already tightly contested segment that’s dominated by the Golf GTI.
While the GTI is the perennial segment leader, there are other cars that perhaps offer a greater challenge to the i30N.
But first, what is this Hyundai i30N?
Hyundai’s N division (think AMG for Mercedes-Benz and M for BMW) is the Korean automaker’s motorsport arm. Since 2015, they’ve been competing in various motorsport codes, including the World Rally Championship (WRC). To celebrate their successes in these codes, they opted to bring their N experience over to road cars, and the i30 was the first to car to benefit from it.
This new i30N, then, is the first mass-produced sports car from Hyundai. It sports a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that produces 202kW and 353Nm of torque.
Top speed is a claimed 250km/h, while it takes only 6.2 seconds to run from 0 to 100km/h. A short-shift six-speed manual gearbox sends power to the front wheels.
Given the quick specifications around this R679 900 machine, which rivals does it come up against? And how does said rivals stack up?2020 Hyundai i30N. Image: QuickPic
Which of the cars below do you think is a better rival to Hyundai's i30N? Email us.
Volkswagen Golf R - R684 400
From the Volkswagen stable, one would think that the GTI would be the default choice for the i30N to go up against. But the GTI is substantially cheaper than the i30N and, if we’re honest, does not offer an exhilarating drive as the Hyundai. Which only leaves the Golf R.
The R’s turbo engine delivers 228kW and a massive 400Nm. It completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.6sec, while top speed is also rated at 250km/h. The R is also equipped with VW’s brilliant seven-speed DSG gearbox that sends power to all four wheels.
Where the Golf R does fall short to the i30N is with its specification. The Hyundai is better equipped than its German rival, and would buyers have to fork out quite a bit of money to have their R on the same level.
2020 Volkswagen Golf R. Image: QuickPic
Honda Civic Type R - R699 900
Like the i30N, the Type R is also fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, but it’s 2.0-litre turbo engine offers the same amount of power as the Golf R (228kW/400Nm). The Civic Type R has for a long time been the measuring stick by which hardcore hot hatches are measured, but the latest edition is somewhat softer, and tamer, than the model preceding it.
Still, the car offers stellar performance, headlined by a 272km/h top speed. The 0-100km/h run takes 5.8sec - a fraction quicker than the i30N.
Given its front-wheel drive setup, the Type R is one of rivals closest to the i30N. But a head-to-head shootout between these two cars, as well as the one below, would determine which is the one to have.
2020 Honda Civic Type R. Image: QuickPic
Renault Megane R.S. 280 - R589 900
For the same price, Renault offers its Megane R.S. 280 in two trims: Lux and Cup - the latter a much more hardcore version. In short, both cars are good, but each one caters to different audience. A very interesting approach by Renault, but one that we think was right.
The R.S. 280 also sports a 1.8-litre turbo engine, but, in terms of power, slots in between the i30N and the two previously mentioned rivals. 205kW and 390Nm are sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. 0-100km/h is dispatched in 5.8sec, onto a 255km/h top speed.
Renault, like Honda and VW, have greater experience than Hyundai in building fast hatch backs, but the i30N has no reason to back down from a fight. The R.S. 280, we know, is a much tauter machine and could be the i30N’s greatest challenger through a corner - an area where Hyundai says its new car will excel.
2020 Renault Megane R.S. Image: QuickPic