Whenever a new local hot hatch rears its head, a comparison to Mzansi’s undisputed king of hot hatches, the Golf GTI, is inevitable. The latest all comer to attempt an invasion of this seemingly impenetrable VW fortress is the new Hyundai i30 N.
Following in the footsteps of the first Hyundai i30 N that was rolled out locally in 2020, the Korean carmaker recently released an updated version of its first mass produced hot hatch alongside the first-ever Kona N. After Road Test Editor Mark Jones recorded the Kona N’s numbers during a high-performance test a few months ago, we finally managed to get an i30 N on test.
Judging by the way the first Hyundai i30 weighed up against the Golf 7 GTI back in 2020, the new version will have its hands full to knock the VW hot hatch off its perch this time around. While the Hyundai brings a sharper knife to the fight, so does the VW in the form of the Golf 8 GTI, which managed to take down the very competent BMW 128ti last year.
The first i30 N, which was powered by a 202 kW/354 Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, pipped the 169 kW/350 Nm Golf 7 GTI from 0 to 100 km/h by six hundredths of a second in a time of 6.52 seconds. But from there, the King caught up to get to a quarter mile half mile and one kilometre faster. A performance Mark said at the time was going to “hurt the Hyundai’s street cred in a huge way”.
This time around, the Hyundai i30 N punches out 206 kW/393 Nm compared to the 180 kW/370 Nm of the Golf 8 GTI.
Mark managed an impressive 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.88 seconds at Gerotek Test Facilities in the Golf 8 GTI last year, which is over half a second faster than VW’s claim of 6.4 seconds.
Hyundai claims the new i30 N will get to 100 km/h from a standstill in 5.4 seconds. Even if it does manage to get close to that time, we bet the Golf 8 GTI will come back hard just like its predecessor did.
Mark is still busy crunching the final test numbers from Hyundai i30 N, which The Citizen Motoring will publish on Saturday.