The Hyundai i30 Fastback N has familiar ingredients in a new package
We're all familiar with the story of Cinderella, the tale of the underdog who through perseverance, fortune or comic justice, eventually achieves success.
It's a story as old as time itself and one we've seen repeated many times.
In the automotive industry.
The latest re-telling of that story involves Hyundai who through the development of the plucky I30 and sports hatchback has become a transformation from a brand people usually buy with their heads to one people might now consider buying with their hearts.
This is the I30 Fast Back N. The second European model in Hyundai in range.
Essentially it's a tweet version of a standard five door hatch back which was seen before will be ingredients very similar.
By instead of that familiar hatch back, we now get a swooping fast back design.
Essentially it's a four door coupe, which is something we haven't really seen before in this segment.
It has the soul of an I30N and if you're familiar with that car then you'll know that that means it commands respect.
The N range was born in namyang but honed at the nurburgring, conceived in South Korea but forged in the fires of the green hell Woah, that's a bit dramatic but what I'm trying to say is it's a serious car.
In the space of a few short years, Hyundai has emerged from performance to security to becoming runners-up in World Rally championship and winning the world touring car championships in 2018.
It's now an irrefutable fact that anything with an endbadge has performance in spades.
These road cars really do a passable imitation of Hyundai's racing cars.
Okay, they're not quite as focused.
They can't do everything that A racing car can, but one thing they can do is put a massive smile on your face.
Power comes from a truly a turbo charged engine that bangs out 272 break horse power.
To a small quiet at the top of the [UNKNOWN] food chain the 272 is plenty for a front wheel drive hatch.
No to 60 takes 6.1 seconds with the [UNKNOWN] pack which is the only model we'll get in the UK and It feels every bit as quick as the numbers might suggest.
When Hyundai first launched the I30 end, nobody really knew what to expect.
We thought we get a car that was quite capable.
One that will ultimately fall short of the models that it was trying to compete with.
Sure people would buy it but mostly because of the price and the warranty What we actually got was a car that wasn't just there to make up the numbers.
It was a car that was there to compete, and not just on value, but on merit.
And within five minutes of driving the fastback version, I could tell, yeah, they're onto another winner.
The big question is, why a fastback?
The status quo for companies making this type of car is very much to make a debut with a hot hatchback and to evolve along a more pragmatic path within a state.
But Hyundai has forsaken pragmatism for passion.
If the i30 N is a working class hero, The i30 fastback end is Hyundai's attempt to go further up market.
It still has the same sporty cues as the hatchback including the red Xcent light front and rear but now incorporates a sweeping roofline tapering towards a cheeky boot lid spoiler.
It feels more grown up gone is the boy racer is blue in its place we now get a more sophisticated shadow grey.
Under the surface there are slight changes too.
The rear axle wheel geometry, anti roll bar bushing and bump stop stiffness have been softened, as has the vertical and lateral stiffness of the front suspension, making it a slightly less aggressive [UNKNOWN] on paper Whether you like it or not is all subjective of course, but I happen to think its a cracken little package.
And one that's actually more appealing than the i30N Hatchback.
Which I felt didn't quite push the boundaries far enough.
Whether you like it or not is kind of irrelevant but one thing is for sure, the people that buy the fast back will be buying it because they specifically like the looks.
It's all very well looking the part but a car like this also has to perform.
No amount of good looks will be enough to guarantee this car's success.
So the [UNKNOWN] dynamic capabilities must be thoroughly scrutinized.
So the first thing that strikes you, is how much torque there is.
But this car [UNKNOWN] is 353 meters.
And I recognize is actually, quite conservative.
On the over boost, they give you three hundred and seventy three newton meters.
Not last about twenty five second Interestingly it develops all of that torque from as low down as 1500 rpm, so you've got access to every single bit of that grunt, barely above tick over.
The steering is very direct so call that, once the target [UNKNOWN] into a corner you can on the power Super early.
Performance pack cause come with an electronic limited slit deferential.
Not really helps you maintain a very tight line to the corners.
Tires, [UNKNOWN] zeros.
They hang on quite gate You're not the last word in grip, but what this car lacks in Tintin's dynamic ability, it makes up for in fun.
It's worth asking the question how the fastback compares to the hatch?
And the truth is, they're very similar.
The difference in weight is so miniscule that you'll barely fee it on the track.
And the changes they have made to this car will eventually filter down to the hatchback version.
There really isn't that much in it.
Whichever one you choose, you'll probably love.
The ride was one thing that I learned I was criticized for with this car when it was first launched.
And people said it was a little bit too firm, a little bit too jiggly.
I wasn't really concerned with it overly, but what they've done with the fastback version is to soften it up a little Give it a little bit more compliance especially in the sport mode.
And that's really handy when you are on the road.
When you're on track, and you wanna really push on, you can of course put it in the N mode which is the most dynamic setting.
And then in that mode it is super firm.
One thing I'm really pleased with is that Hyundai haven't backed it off too much.
The N is a firm car and they've really run with that.
Again there are faster hot hatches, there are cars with better dynamic ability especially at 10:10s, but can I think of another card I'd rather be in right now?
The best feature of all?
That obnoxious exhaust, it just pops and bangs on the overrun like you wouldn't believe.
It might be pitching this fastback model as a more sophisticated car than the Hatch.
But it's still very much a thug.
What we're seeing, is that the end brand isn't a fluke.
Not only can Hyundai do this, they can do this again and again.
You might have noticed that up to this point, I haven't really mentioned the things that Hyundai is best known for, the price or the value.
And that's because I don't really need too.
That's not why you buy this car.
I also haven't mentioned any of this car's rivals, and that's because it pretty much stands alone.
I can't think of another four door hatchback that became a coupe made.
It's also because I don't need to mention them.
This car is good enough to stand on it's own merit.
It's not just good for Hyundai.
It's not just good value.
It's not just good for first attempt for a performance car.
It's just good.
With the I30 fast back end, Hyundai is on it's way to completing a genuine Cinderella story.
They created a performance sub-brand that mixes it with the best and in the I-30 fastback end, they finally have a car you don't necessarily buy with your head.
This is a car that for many will be an investment driven by emotion.
It's a car you can buy because you genuinely love it.
It's a car you can buy with your heart.