Hyundai has turned its mild-mannered five-door hatch into a convincingly styled hot hatchback with the i30 N. It doesn’t have the classlessness of a Golf GTI, but nor is it quite as brash as a Civic Type R – and in that middle ground the end result is something quite appealing.
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Front and rear bumpers, side sills and a spoiler with an integrated, triangular brake light mark the N out from regular i30s, as well as either 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels and red detailing. Hyundai also has its own signature colour for the N, called Performance Blue – a light shade that sounds a little odd until you see it in the metal. It really works, though the N looks great in understated black or traditional reds and whites, too.
On the larger alloy wheels the Performance has to be our favourite, though, and looks particularly menacing in black. At the 2018 Paris motor show, Hyundai also announced a range of ‘N Option’ parts that give the i30 even more of a kick, including enormous 20-inch OZ alloy wheels, carbonfibre sill, bumper and spoiler extensions, and a large roster of interior parts.
And the Fastback? It took us a little getting used-to, and arguably isn't as sleek as such a car could (or should) be, as Hyundai has clearly been keen to preserve some practicality. But with longer exposure it gets better and from the rear in particular looks more exotic than the standard car. It might just be the one we'd go for.