But needing and actually receiving are two different things.
Hyundai made no secret about its upcoming i30 Fastback N, the hot five-door coupe version of its already highly regarded i30 N hatchback. In America, the closest Hyundai we have to the latter is the new Veloster N, which is a great hot hatch, but it’s this new i30 Fastback N that’s caught our affections.
Slated to be revealed in full at next week’s Paris Motor Show, the all-new i30 Fastback N is, according to Hyundai, the first five-door hot coupe in the C-segment. Think of it as the poor man’s (or perhaps a smart buyer’s) Audi S3 sedan or Mercedes-Benz CLA.
Above all, however, Hyundai is continuing to expand its Performance N range, at least in Europe. Hopefully, this expansion will find its way stateside to additional models (a hot Elantra?).
Let’s talk shop. The Fastback N is a little over 4.5 inches longer than the hatchback and features improved suspension and chassis tuning, specifically slightly softer front suspension that aids in turn-in and front-end traction. These upgrades will also be applied to the 2019 i30 N hatch.
Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in both the hatchback and Veloster N. Output is rated at 247 hp in the standard trim and 272 hp in Performance models. A six-speed manual transmission distributes power to the front wheels.
This Performance trim, as it does for the i30 N hatch, also adds goodies like an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, bigger Pirelli P Zero tires wrapped around 19-inch wheels, and upgraded exhaust. Hyundai claims the Fastback N’s performance figures are identical to that of the hatch: 0-62 mph in 6.4 seconds and 6.1 seconds for the standard and Performance versions, respectively.
The exterior design is described as “clean and sleek” and we wholeheartedly agree. Hyundai, and its sister brand Kia, are clearly on to something when it comes to powerful and fun to drive fastback sedans, another example being the Stinger GT.
Like the i30 N hatch, the Fastback comes with the same N-specific grille, front and rear bumpers, and black side sills. The rear spoiler is purposely arched so that it integrates into the tailgate. The interior is also familiar to anyone who’s been in the hatch. The N-specific steering wheel and red stitching are a couple of highlights.
What’s convenient about a fastback over a traditional three-box sedan design is increased interior space. Hyundai says the Fastback N offers nearly 16 cubic feet of luggage space which increases to an impressive 47.7 cu ft. when the seats are folded flat.
To give us a taste of what America is missing out on here, Hyundai N tasked two of its in-house racing drivers to drive from Rome to Paris to set a new world-record time. However, this is not the route between the Italian and French capitals you first assumed, but rather the nearly 8-mile distance between the Danish villages of Rome and Paris. Same names. Different countries. It took the pair only 8:18.49 minutes to complete the route through windy roads.
We’ll be on hand at Paris next for the 2019 Hyundai i30 Fastback N’s public debut. And yes, we’ll inquire about its chances in the US of A, but don’t get your hopes up.