Hyundai takes aim at Type R with new i30 N 'Project C' track weapon
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The Hyundai i30 N was one of Driven's favourite new cars from 2018. Balanced, fun-loving handling, and a level of set-up adjustment that hardly anything else in the hot-hatch genre can match helped earn it a spot in our AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year finalist line-up.
But while the i30 N is undeniably fun, it's also been well publicised that it's not necessarily a challenger on the timesheets for rivals like the Honda Civic Type R or Renault Megane R.S. But that might be changing, with the introduction of a track-focused sub-model — known for now as the Project C.
There are a few caveats to note, here. First of them is that the Project C is currently still in development. How it'll look, how much power and torque it'll make (the standard car makes 202kW/353Nm), and how much weight Hyundai will be able to carve out of its 1429kg weight all remains to be seen. For now the Korean hot hatch remains coated in mystery, and camouflage.
The other caveat is that, sadly, it's currently set to be a European-market exclusive.
Nonetheless, there's a lot to get excited about with the Project C on paper. Hyundai have confirmed that it will be "notably lighter" than the standard car.
Key to this improvement on the scales is the adoption of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) throughout its construction, as well as a set of lightweight 19-inch wheels and weight reduction in other areas.
The i30 N Project C will also gain revised aerodynamics, and 'handling upgrades' to improve responsiveness. Expect tweaks to the suspension set-up and brakes to form part of the equation.
News of the Project C comes at an interesting time for the i30 N. It's been on sale in New Zealand for just over a year, with Europe having had it another six months or so on top of that. In the time since, a softer 'N-Line' spin-off has been released, as well as a rather slick 'fastback' sedan variant. The former has just landed here, while the latter sadly isn't coming here.
But, that's not all. There's plenty of other rumour afoot with regards to the future of the i30 N.
Namely, it's expected that a DSG option will join the line-up at some point, which will undoubtedly broaden the likeable hatchback's appeal to buyers. An all-wheel drive variant has also been rumoured, potentially giving the i30 N the necessary wings to challenge cars like the Volkswagen Golf R and Audi S3.