Yesterday we posted that the Hyundai i30N has overtaken the BMW M135i to become Europe’s third most popular performance hatchback, trailing behind the Mercedes-AMG A35 and Volkswagen Golf GTI.
That’s an amazing feat considering that this is only Hyundai’s first attempt at this end of the market.
Clearly Hyundai hired the right person to head its N Division – the former head of BMW M, Albert Biermann. In just his first attempt, Biermann has already created a better product that has won over more fans than his previous employer BMW.
Remember that the i30N is only offered exclusively with a 6-speed manual - which limits its appeal, even in Europe. It only means that for the small group of drivers who know and care about cars that give an engaging drive, the Hyundai i30N is clearly the one to have.
An 8-speed dual-clutch automatic variant is under development, and is expected to join the line-up in 2021.
Closer to home, it’s a very different story. The Hyundai i30N was launched in November 2019, limited to just 20 units, available exclusively only on Lazada. Unfortunately, none were sold. Interest in the car is high, but for various reasons, deals couldn't be closed.
Of the 20 units imported, one was registered as a demonstration unit, number plate BGS 80. Another is parked at the Hyundai 3S Centre at Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur – the only showroom where customers can view the i30N.
We can’t blame the poor sales on the product as the i30N is competitively priced and ticks all the right boxes.
Priced at RM 298,888, its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder pushes out 275 PS and 353 Nm to the front wheels, not quite like a 310 PS/400 Nm Honda Civic Type R (last sold at RM 330,002) but definitely more than a match for a 230 PS/350 Nm VW Golf GTI, which is priced at RM 240,029 (Mk 7.5 model).
The i30N also comes with electronic limited slip differential, adaptive suspension, variable exhaust note valves, with an interior that feels more German than Korean (it even has a panoramic sunroof), definitely a better place to sit inside than a Honda Civic Type R.
The current range of Hyundai cars are all very good. In many ways, their cars are already better than a Honda or Toyota, but the perception here is that if a car wears a Hyundai badge, it needs to be priced lower than an equivalent Japanese/German, doesn't matter how good the car actually is.
Across all major markets in the world, demand for the Hyundai i30N is outstripping supply. In Australia, there was a five-month waiting list for the car the moment it went on sale in 2018.
The i30N is without a doubt, a great hot hatch and if you want the real deal signed off by man who once built proper BMW M cars, you should pay a visit to the Hyundai 3S Centre in Old Klang Road. This car deserves better response from the market.