Hyundai i30 N 2.0 GLS Turbo Performance Pack (M) Review
Need For Speed

6 Sep 2019

At the sportiest setting, the car's twin-exhaust makes a glorious, bassy, burbling sound. This sweet symphony of crackles and pops makes you want to drive the i30 N hard every time you get in the car.

"I feel the need… The need for speed," this iconic quote was said by Maverick (Tom Cruise's character from the movie Top Gun), and it perfectly captures my sentiment after spending some time with the Hyundai i30 N (Performance Pack).

We reviewed the 'plain vanilla' version of the Hyundai i30 N 2.0 GLS Turbo in Feb 2019 and our editor, Clifford Chow, described it as, "A well-developed everyday hot hatch. Good on handling, performance and driver satisfaction; and we almost could not ask for more."

Our test car today is the Hyundai i30 N that comes with additional Performance Pack upgrades and boy, does this car rock. This is a car that's just begging to be driven hard.

Just as how BMW M cars have M logos emblazoned all over the car, the Hyundai i30 N too comes with copious amounts of N logos all over the car. I was wondering what the N stands for and according to Hyundai, the "N" logo is inspired by the curves of a racetrack and the N takes its name from Namyang and Nürburgring. The car was produced at the Hyundai Motor Namyang R&D Center and then sent to the demanding Nürburgring race track in Germany, to undergo rigorous testing and inspection. Whether it stands for Namyang or Nürburgring, as far I'm concerned, the N should stand for Need For Speed!

The i30 N is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, and the Performance Pack version delivers 275bhp of power and maximum torque of 378Nm (with overboost function) — compared to 250bhp of power and 353Nm of torque in the regular version of the i30 N. The Performance package car also accelerates faster to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds — 0.3 seconds faster than the regular version. In both versions, top speed is at 250km/h.

Another key benefit of the Performance Pack upgraded car is that you get to configure your preferred exhaust sound with the Variable Exhaust Valve System. The system manages the exhaust valve, and by controlling the size of the valve opening, you get to control how aggressive you want the car's exhaust to sound. At the sportiest setting, the car's twin-exhaust makes a glorious, bassy, burbling sound. This sweet symphony of crackles and pops makes you want to drive the i30 N hard every time you get in the car. What's more, it's perfectly street legal too!

The Hyundai i30 N offers the driver a high degree of customisation with its N Grin Control System. You get five different drive modes, including the N and N Custom modes, that let you choose if you want the car to be a comfort-oriented pussy cat or a track-ready beast. You get to configure engine mapping, damper firmness, steering weight, e-LSD characteristics, stability control and of course, the exhaust sound level. All in all, the N Custom mode allows a possible 1,944 combinations to be selected!

Inside the Hyundai i30 N, the car looks good and feels good. The doors close with a nice resounding thud and everything feels solid and well put together. In fact, I'd say the whole car feels more German than Korean.

I love the N sport seats that use a combination of suede and leather upholstery. They are very comfortable, and they also do a great job of bolstering the driver under the heavy cornering. I also like the powered lumbar support that lets you select exactly where and how much lumbar support you prefer. As this is a manual car with a somewhat heavy clutch, excellent lumbar support is highly essential.

The N steering wheel has loads of buttons that let you choose your preferred drive mode. On the left side of the steering wheel, you can choose between three standard drive modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. And on the right side, the chequered flag N button sends you to the N-mode customising screen. There's also a Rev button that allows drivers to activate the Rev matching control system for smoother gear shifting. There are N logos all over the car, and the N-badge also features on the beautiful ball-type gear knob that's a real joy to caress and hold.

The i30 N driving modes are displayed on the car's 8.0-inch touch screen with navigation, and I love that the race computer also displays information on speed, torque, turbo boost, G-force. It even has a lap and acceleration timer! And it also comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built-in. If you've got a newer smartphone, you'll also appreciate the Qi wireless charging pad. Sound quality from the multimedia entertainment system is average, but in this car, the only music you'll want to listen to is the snap, crackle and pop from the i30 N's twin-exhaust!

The Drive

Even though the i30 N is front-wheel drive, it handles well. The rack-mounted steering is very direct and precise, and the car's Electronically Controlled Limited Slip Differential (called N Corner Carving Differential) helps to improve grip so that you can drive spiritedly through the corners.

With the Performance Pack upgrade, you get 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero high-performance Hyundai N tyres (instead of 18-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport) and these tyres offer excellent traction. The Performance Pack car also has larger brake discs (18-inch at the front, 17-inch at the rear) and these help the i30 N to shed speed well.

Fuel economy on the car is rated at 7.1 litres/100 km (combined) or 14.08 km/litre. The numbers aren’t too bad considering the power that you’ve got at your disposal but then again, fuel consumption is probably the last consideration on your mind if you are getting a car like this.

Our Thoughts

Overall, the i30 N with Performance Pack upgrade is an excellent car. It's comfortable enough to be used for an everyday commute, and it also offers bags of fun when you want an entertaining drive.

With the Performance Pack upgrade, the car's VES banding goes up from B to C1, and that's partly why the upgraded version will cost you S$20,000 more than the regular version of the i30 N. Personally, I would definitely recommend ponying up for the Performance Pack car as you get so much more including that delicious sounding exhaust burble.

This is clearly a car for those with a need for speed, and for some driving enthusiasts, driving a manual car is the only way to go. The Hyundai i30 N (Performance Pack) is a car that I would dearly love to take on a nice long drive up the North-South Expressway but at the same time, I would also be very fearful of having to half-clutch the car through a bad jam. Not having an automatic version does limit the potential fan base for the i30 N somewhat as many Singaporeans have been spoilt driving automatics.

*All information accurate as at 5 September 2019

In Summary

We Like

Bags of power, super fun drive and that sweet burbling exhaust

We Don't

Driving a manual can be tiring when stuck in traffic


The Hyundai i30 N with Performance Pack is a car for those with a need for speed!

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