There is no hotter trend in the automotive industry than turning something with more than two doors into a "coupe." You usually find it in the luxury SUV segment -- think Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe or BMW X4 -- but now, Hyundai's brought the idea to the world of hot hatchbacks.
Hyundai debuted the i30 Fastback N at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. It's virtually identical to the that Hyundai rolled out in June of last year, albeit with one key difference. Instead of traditional five-door hatchback shape, the hatch has been slimmed down to look closer to a sedan, or, if you love marketing speak, a "five-door coupe." It looks like a sedan, but it isn't --the rear glass still opens with the hatch.
Like the i30 N before it, the Fastback variant has a more aggressive front bumper with black-bezel LED headlights and red stripes scattered about. Out back, there's a stronger rear bumper wrapped around a pair of mufflers and a triangular rear fog lamp. Wheels can be had in 18 or 19 inches, plenty aggressive for a car of its size. And, as one might expect, N badges abound.
The interior is also a bit sportier, drawing inspiration from both the new Elantra and the new Veloster. The steering wheel is thicker, the seats are more heavily bolstered and the pedals are a smidge fancier. There are more N badges, in addition to an N-specific instrument cluster. There's a metal button that activates N mode, which sharpens up the car's settings.
The i30 Fastback N's powertrains are the same as the i30 N's, too. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 gas engine will put out either 246 or 271 horsepower. The latter configuration lays down an ample 260 pound-feet of torque, but an overboost function cranks that up to 278 pound-feet for small periods of time. A six-speed manual is standard, as is front-wheel drive. An optional performance package in some markets adds an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and a variable exhaust system.
Hyundai does an excellent job shoving its cars full of tech, and even its performance models are no exception. Two infotainment setups are available, one with navigation and one without, but both sport the same 8-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are along for the ride, as is wireless device charging. There's a special N-mode screen that lets you play with all the various performance bits on the car that can be tweaked, too.
So far, the i30 Fastback N, like the i30 N before it, remains forbidden fruit for us Yanks. The only N model we get in the US for now is the Hyundai Veloster N, which is no slouch, but more performance models wouldn't hurt. Hopefully that'll change in the near future.
: We head to the Nurburgring to test the Veloster N's performance chops.
: I hope you like triangles.