Hyundai has pulled the covers off its latest performance car concept at the Paris motor show. Called the RN30, the car is our best look yet at the direction of Hyundai's N performance sub-brand.
Based loosely on the Hyundai i30 hatchback - also launched in Paris - the RN30 falls at the extreme end of the hot hatchback segment, with heavily blistered bodywork (it's 30mm wider than the production i30, and 84mm lower), large front and rear aerodynamic elements and a powerful drivetrain.
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Behind what's left of the standard i30's nose is a 2-litre turbocharged powerplant, previewing the unit set to be used in the production car. In this form it develops 375bhp and a hefty 333lb ft of torque.
In order to handle figures higher than virtually every hot hatchback on sale today, the RN30 uses an all-wheel drive system, while a wet dual-clutch transmission rations power. There's also an electronic limited slip differential (eLSD) to measure out power to each of the 19-inch wheels.
A rev-matching system for the gearbox ensures the engine is always at the correct speeds on upshifts and downshifts in sport mode, and the exhaust system is electronically controlled for different noise levels.
Light weight will be another key aspect of the performance of Hyundai's N cars - which dynamics chief Albert Biermann confirmed to evo will be more track-focused than the less extreme GT models offered by sister brand Kia.
Where some brands have used carbonfibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) to reduce weight, Hyundai has developed a special plastic in conjunction with BASF, which serves the same purpose. Hyundai claims it's not only light but also environmentally friendly to produce. Elsewhere, weight has been shed by stripping the interior and positioning the seats as low as possible, for a lower centre of gravity.
The car has been developed both at the firm's facility in Namyang, Korea, and at the Nurburgring in Germany, where Hyundai recently fielded an N performance powertrain mule in the N24.
Keep up to date with all the latest launches from Paris on our Paris motor show hub page.