Hyundai i20 N revealed – 200bhp supermini ready for some Ford Fiesta ST baiting

Long-awaited second N division model set to shake up the junior hot hatch establishment

This is the Hyundai i20 N: a new supermini hot hatch from the Korean firm’s N division that will join the recently updated i30 N in the marque’s performance line-up and rival Ford’s Fiesta ST in the junior hot hatch class. While there hasn’t been an i20 that’s ever blinked on our radar before, much like the i30 N did back in 2017 the new i20 N promises to once again shake up the status quo with a little help from its German development team. 

Powering the i20 N will be Hyundai’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder ‘Gamma’ engine, which although new to the European market in a Hyundai is the same underlying engine found in the Kia Ceed GT and Proceed GT. While the powertrain in those two models is pretty uninspiring, in the i20 N it has gone through a similar development process as the i30 N’s engine architecture – which itself had rather pedestrian roots – gaining a new turbo, bespoke variable valve timing and a new injection system.

Peak power for the i20 N is rated at 200bhp, with a relatively light torque peak of 203lb ft, but the latter is available right the way from 1750 to 4000rpm. Power peaks between 5000 and 6000rpm, suggesting the engine will be happy in the upper levels of the rev band. The Ford Fiesta ST by comparison is very slightly down on power (by 3bhp), but then ahead by 11lb ft despite it having one cylinder fewer. The two cars are very similarly matched in terms of weight, with both coming in at around 1190kg as five-door models with a limited-slip differential (standard on the Hyundai, optional on the Ford), but the i20 N is marginally slower to 62mph at 6.7sec, 0.2sec behind the ST.

The Hyundai’s sole transmission option is a six-speed manual, with power sent to the front wheels via a Torsen mechanical-style limited-slip differential. The only wheel and tyre package available is a set of 18-inch alloys running bespoke 215-section Pirelli P Zero tyres.

The underlying chassis has seen some pretty hefty improvements in rigidity, with no less than 12 structural points being reinforced or redesigned. The front suspension strut towers in particular have been strengthened, and support bespoke springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and wheel carriers. The rear suspension is of a torsion-beam design, as is the case with all other superminis this side of a Mini. 

Like the i30 N, the i20 N offers multiple modes for the driver, running through Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Individual, each of which affects the engine mapping, ESC, exhaust and steering. As the i20 N makes do with passive dampers and a mechanical limited-slip differential, these are not able to be customised as they are in the i30. 

The styling of the i20 inside and out has gained a more aggressive look for the N variant, with the standard i20’s odd melange of slashes and creases joined by new bumpers, a new splitter and a more assertive use of red pinstriping around the groundwork. Hyundai N’s trademark powder blue paint is present and correct, of course, and while the third brake light is a slim LED affair, the rear fog light has made use of the triangle motif seen on the i30 N. 

The i20 N will reach European roads in the spring of 2021, with the final unknown its price point. With the i30 N famed for keeping hold of Hyundai’s core value of, well, value, where the i20 N will fit in against the equivalent £25,300 five-door Fiesta ST fitted with the Performance Pack remains to be seen.  

Recommended

Hyundai i20 N 2021 review – hot supermini zeros in on the Ford Fiesta ST
Hyundai i20 N - front tracking
Hyundai i20

Hyundai i20 N 2021 review – hot supermini zeros in on the Ford Fiesta ST

An inspiring new hot hatch from Hyundai N. Agile, and with a limited slip differential that offers superb mid-corner traction, it’s a formidable Fiest…
26 Mar 2021
Hyundai i20 N-Line revealed - Ford Fiesta rival previews i20 N hot hatch
Hyundai i20

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

The i20 hatchback has been given performance-inspired tweaks with the new N-Line edition 
30 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Cupra Leon 300 2021 review – VW’s GTI Clubsport usurped from within?
Cupra Leon 300 header
SEAT Leon Cupra

Cupra Leon 300 2021 review – VW’s GTI Clubsport usurped from within?

One of the sharpest hot hatchbacks money can buy right now, despite weird branding and a very long name (which we’ve simplified for you).
14 May 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 13th May 2021
Features

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
13 May 2021
GTO Engineering's Squalo is a Ferrari 250 SWB recreation with a 10,000rpm V12
GTO Engineering Squalo
Ferrari

GTO Engineering's Squalo is a Ferrari 250 SWB recreation with a 10,000rpm V12

New-build Ferrari 250 SWB creation bridges classic style and modern technology
12 May 2021