If there’s one thing we at DriveLife love about the Hyundai i30N, it’s the fact that it’s only available with a manual gearbox, just like its arch-enemy, the Honda Civic Type R. But that’s about to change, with Hyundai announcing that the car is now available with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic (DCT) transmission.

For 2021, there’s also a little more power, with an extra 4kW on top and an additional 39Nm of torque.

Back to that new transmission option; It has paddle shifters, as you’d expect, along with three new N performance functions (one of these is called ‘N Grin Shift’) “for a sporting experience”. Thankfully, the 6-speed manual transmission is still available. Our experience with Hyundai DCTs is that, like many other DCT gearboxes, in normal driving conditions they are slow to get off the line and have that ‘DCT Jerk’ at low speeds. Let’s hope that the i30N automatic isn’t inflicted with these traits.

The new model has new 19-inch forged alloy wheels that allow for additional weight reduction, resulting in more agile handling say Hyundai, and it’s due to go on sale this month, priced from $58,990.

“The i30 N hot hatch and Fastback have been popular amongst performance car enthusiasts, however with the arrival of a DCT option, we anticipate it will attract more new customers, enabling them to experience that N feeling”, says Hyundai New Zealand General Manager, Andy Sinclair.

He says that as well as offering a range of design and driving enhancements, the 2021 i30 N is also equipped with more lightweight materials, resulting in more agility and better handling.

Improved engine delivers an even more intense motorsport feeling

The upgraded 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now delivers 206kW. The new i30 N maintains maximum torque between 2,100 and 4,700 RPM, and achieves maximum power at 6,000 RPM. The 2021 i30 N has a maximum speed of 250 km/hr, and can go from 0-100 km/h in 5.4 secs, an improvement of 0.7 seconds or 11% over the previous model.

As with its predecessor, the new i30 N is equipped with a range of high-performance driving features including Rev Matching, Launch Control, Rear stiffness bar, and more.

N DCT

Hyundai says that the new N DCT eight-speed dual-clutch transmission enables a range of high-performance driving features, making the new i30 N even more fun to drive. N DCT is a wet type transmission, meaning that oil is used to cool the clutch components, creating less friction and allowing a higher amount of torque to be transferred through the gearbox. The new transmission option was designed to provide the engaging experience of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic transmission.

Drivers can choose to enter manual mode and shift gears either by using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel or the gear stick. If the driver decides to use the gear lever instead of the paddles, the gear lever comes with sporty, race-style shifting logic: to downshift, push forward, and to upshift, pull back.

The N DCT enables three new N performance functions for even more driving fun: N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift. N Grin Shift (NGS) releases maximum power of the engine and transmission for 20 seconds – performance and according to Hyundai, that is sure to bring a grin to the driver’s face. The driver pushes a button on the steering wheel to activate, and a countdown begins on the cluster showing the remaining seconds for this function.

N Power Shift (NPS) engages when the car accelerates with more than 90% of throttle, thereby mitigating any reduction in torque by using upshifts to deliver maximum power to the wheels. This enhances fun to drive by giving a “push feel” when upshifting.

Finally, N Track Sense Shift (NTS) recognises when the road conditions are optimal for dynamic driving, for example on a racetrack, and activates automatically. Selecting the right gear and shift timing provides optimal performance, just like a professional race car driver.

N Grin Control System

As with the previous generation i30 N, the N Grin Control System gives customers a choice between five distinct driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. The driving modes adjust the parameters of the engine, the suspension, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), N Corner Carving Differential (Electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential), exhaust sound, steering, and transmission to optimise them for a variety of driving conditions. In the N Custom mode, drivers can select from Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+ settings for each component to match driving preferences and road conditions.

19-inch forged alloy wheels

The lightweight, optimised, five-double-spoke wheels were designed for minimum unsprung mass and high strength. Together, the 19-inch forged alloy wheels are 14.4kg lighter than the current 19-inch casted alloy wheels. Their dark satin grey matte finish, contrasting with the N-specific red brake calipers with N logo, underlines the racing spirit of the car. The new i30 N has also been outfitted with high-performance Pirelli P-Zero tyres, developed especially for the i30 N.

Ride and handling

As with its predecessor, the new i30 N features an Electronic Controlled Suspension. The suspension and steering systems have been refined, resulting in improved ride and handling performance for both transmission types.

Drivers also benefit from the N Corner Carving Differential, an Electronically Controlled Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). Additionally, the front brake disc size has been increased from 345mm to 360mm for better braking performance.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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