2020 Hyundai i20 N teased – Ford Fiesta ST rival gears up for launch

Hyundai’s hot new i20 N supermini isn’t far away, and we’ve been given our first glimpse in these new images

Earlier this year, Hyundai officially confirmed that its new i20 supermini would spawn a hot hatch variant to rival the Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot’s future 208 GTi. Following test mule sightings on the Nürburgring in July, the South Korean marque has now given us our best look yet at the car with a fresh set of teaser images.

The i20 N will be based on the new i20 hatchback, which itself rides on an updated version of the previous model’s platform. The N derivative will feature a range of performance upgrades for both the chassis and powertrain, in a similar style to those applied to the i30 N.

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> Hyundai i20 N-Line revealed - Ford Fiesta rival previews i20 N hot hatch

Full details are still to be revealed. However, the new renders reveal the use of a bespoke front bumper with larger intakes for improved cooling, alongside more aggressive side sills and the roof-mounted wing spotted on the test mules. A set of new 18-inch wheels can also be seen, finished in matt grey, while the bodywork is painted in the N-exclusive Performance Blue hue, as first featured on the i30 N Performance, and accompanied by red highlights throughout.

Helping develop the i20 N is Hyundai’s World Rally Championship driver, Belgian Thierry Neuville. Images and video taken at the brand’s arctic development base show the driver, alongside engineers, putting the new supermini through a series of tests, with the car in one instance making a distinctly four-cylinder noise not dissimilar to that of the larger i30 N – a new exhaust sound clip offers more detail, with those trademark N pops and crackles making an appearance.

The i20 N’s specific powertrain is still an unknown quantity, but the 2-litre turbocharged ‘Theta’ engine that’s found in the i30 N is unlikely to be a good fit within the i20’s daintier chassis due to its size and weight. One possible alternative is a high-output version of the Kona’s 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, which could be integrated with a mild-hybrid 48V system as found in the majority of the standard i20 range.

Power figures are purely speculative at this stage, but somewhere around 200bhp will make the car competitive with the Fiesta ST (197bhp), while not wandering too close to the standard, non-Performance version of the i30 N (247bhp).

The supermini will be entering a tough segment, as the Fiesta ST is as strong, willing and talented as ever. A GTi version of Peugeot’s incoming 208 has yet to be confirmed, but it might well arrive with electric power rather than petrol due to legislative pressures.

But the i20 N comes with plenty of momentum from within Hyundai, as the i30 N proved that the Korean brand has what it takes to develop a superb hot hatch. Let’s hope the i20 N shares some of that magic.

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