Take-up of the Hyundai i30 N in Australia has exceeded the company’s expectations in its first months on sale, with the current wait list standing at six months for those ordering the 202kW/353Nm i30 N today.
Australian demand for the manual-only, LSD-equipped hot hatch has been stronger than expected, while global demand for the i30 N has also outstripped the supply capacity of Hyundai’s Czech factory that exclusively builds the i30 N. The factory will add capacity shortly to help clear a global backlog led by particularly strong Australian – and German – customer demand.
The i30 N’s early initial success, both with buyers and the motoring press, has spooked Hyundai’s rivals, including Volkswagen – the maker of the 169kW Golf GTI. That car is now in runout and will be replaced later this year by an updated Golf GTI making 180kW/370Nm and matching the i30 N’s limited slip differential – though the VW will be automatic-only, the opposite of the Hyundai arrangement.
Offering a manual-only hot hatch at launch has not been a hindrance to sales, Hyundai Australia’s general manager of public relations Bill Thomas told Chasing Cars. Mr Thomas said dealers had received effectively zero feedback from customers expressing disappointment in the lack of an automatic gearbox, and said that most people interested in the i30 N were well-educated about the car before entering a dealership. That said, an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission should be ready by the end of 2019.
Only the global ‘Performance Pack’ variant of the i30 N is offered in Australia, sporting the 202kW/353Nm tune of Hyundai’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, a front-end limited slip differential, and a six-speed manual gearbox, commencing at $39,990. A further Luxury pack adds creature comforts inside for a further $3,000.
Some foreign markets are also offered a 184kW/353Nm tune without the LSD, but Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) did not opt to offer the standard car having achieved a target sub-$40,000 price for the beefier Performance iteration.
That said, the value-forward $39,990 offer has made up just a third of sales since the i30 N went on sale, with 66% of Australian i30 N buyers splurging for the Luxury Pack – and just under half of those who buy the Luxury Pack spend a further $2,000 on a fully-loaded i30 N listing for $44,990.
While most new cars sell a richer mix of higher-priced variants in their first year, the clear preference among Australian i30 N buyers for the more premium Luxury Pack has us wondering about the appetite for a more expensive and more powerful version of the i30 N that could be offered in future, perhaps with all-wheel-drive – as envisaged by the 280kW RN30 concept Hyundai showed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
The Veloster N has been confirmed for the United States, and is under consideration in Australia.
What we know is that the i30 N five-door will be joined by a coupe-style i30 N Fastback in early 2019, a spokesman for Hyundai Australia confirmed to Chasing Cars. Hyundai’s Australian arm are also studying the feasibility of offering the forthcoming Veloster N for the Australian market – the Americans are getting the Veloster N, but not the i30 N – but there are concerns that dealerships will be crowded with three similarly-sized N cars in the i30 five-door, i30 Fastback, and Veloster. Such a lineup would be further complicated with the mooted Kona N, a rumoured future performance version of the brand’s small SUV.
The styling of the confirmed-for-Australia i30 N Fastback has not yet been revealed, but we can make educated guesses. The standard Fastback model – which Europe gets but we do not – has been unveiled, and Hyundai say it’ll be fitted with identical mechanical kit, similar go-fast visual additions, and hallmark Performance Blue paint borrowed from the existing five-door. Hyundai executives would not be drawn on different demographic that will be reached by the Fastback, but we’d guess it will be offered at a slightly higher price and be pitched with a more refined and restrained aesthetic than the conventional hatch.
The i30 Fastback is being prepared for full N status, arriving early next year.
2018 – already a golden year for hot hatchbacks – will get even hotter toward the end of the year, as we’ll know more about the i30 N Fastback, and we’ll have more to say about the i30 N as it squares up against the updated, LSD-equipped 180kW Golf GTI. Stay tuned.