Hyundai Ioniq 5 N confirmed – N’s going electric starting with the 5

Hyundai’s worst-kept secret is a secret no more. Its popular Ioniq 5 will gain a high performance N variant

Hyundai has confirmed that it’ll put a high performance Ioniq 5 N into production in 2023, giving consumers the first all-electric model from its N sub-brand. If there’s been one stand-out brand in performance car development over the last five or so years, it’s Hyundai N. Launched in 2017 with the i30 N, and since having expanded to the Kona N and more recently the i20 N, each model has been better than the last, since becoming the premier hot hatchback manufacturer in 2022. But Hyundai N’s journey has only just begun with official plans now confirming that it will be expanding into all-electric high performance cars, starting with its Ioniq 5 SUV. 

The Ioniq 5 N will be based on Hyundai/Kia’s E-GMP platform, with typical high performance updates applied to both its powertrain and chassis. The powertrain’s specifics are still to be confirmed, but we expect it to utilise a high-output dual motor system that’ll share key hardware with Kia’s forthcoming EV6 GT. In that car, the powertrain is rated at 569bhp, a figure that we expect will be shared with the Ioniq 5 N. 

A new piece of hardware that will also debut is a new torque-vectoring limited-slip differential that was announced as part of Hyundai’s wider N technology announcement in its RN22e concept, which will likely turn into the N brand’s second all-electric model, the Ioniq 6 N. The system has been described as a twin-clutch unit, pointing towards an application of a mechanical differential that is able to physically augment power between the left and right wheels, similar to the system found in the latest Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45 S

> Click here for our full Ioniq 5 review 

This system will be able to mechanically vector torque between the rear wheels from the rear-mounted electric motor, with the ability to send most, if not all, available torque to one wheel.

As well as the new differential, the Ioniq 5 will have a significantly uprated chassis, with wider tracks, wheels and tyres that will necessitate wheel arch extensions, an element that’s previously been spotted on Ioniq 5 N prototypes spied lapping the Nürburgring. As well as the new geometry, we also expect it to relinquish some of its quasi-SUV stance by sitting lower to the ground, and sit on a bigger set of 21-inch wheels. Hyundai’s N department also has a penchant for co-developing its own bespoke tyres with Pirelli for its models, something we suspect might be in progress between the two companies. 

Hyundai N’s models haven’t just found favour in their inherent capability, but also how this performance is presented to the driver through a multitude of driver modes and the ability to finely tailor them to both the road and conditions. This is something that should be applied to all of the Ioniq 5 N’s active chassis elements, and could play an even greater role in making the characteristics of the electric powertrain more varied than its petrol-powered models. 

This could be done in a variety of ways, such as augmenting the throttle mapping or torque curves, but also pumping dynamic noises through the cabin. This isn’t uncommon on many high performance electric cars, and Hyundai is even working on a synthetic ‘shift feel’ – what that means on a car without gears, however, is anyone’s guess. 

In addition to the chassis and powertrain updates, expect to see a new marriage of Hyundai’s distinctive design language to traditional N cues. So while elements like large exhaust outlets and WRC-inspired triangular fog lights aren’t likely to be found on a future Ioniq 5 N, the door’s wide open to reimagine the standard model’s already distinctive ‘Delta Integrale of the future’ aesthetic with a high performance overtone. This is something that’s already been previewed by the RN22e concept, with its motorsport-derived aero and visual separation between the standard body and dark-coloured aero devices.  

Inside, the Ioniq 5’s laid-back cabin feel will also likely be given an overhaul, with new touchpoints that are less concerned with creating a serene environment and more about engagement. 

So while the notion of a high performance electric SUV like an Ioniq 5 wouldn’t usually prick up evo’s ears, Hyundai N’s flawless record in turning its mainstream and otherwise mundane models into ones that are kicking goal after goal makes an Ioniq 5 N an intriguing prospect.

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