The fire-cracking Hyundai Elantra N, or i30 Sedan N as it’s known in Australia, has just been given a facelift and it could potentially see out internal combustion engines for the performance sub-brand.
Hyundai, like almost all carmakers, has set out aggressive plans to shift its vehicle fleet to some kind of electrified powertrains. Whether it be hybrid, full electric, or even hydrogen. That, unfortunately, means crackling exhausts will soon be a thing of the past.
As far as we understand, the i30 Sedan N will be one of the last models to exclusively feature a petrol engine. The i20 N will undergo a mild facelift during the middle of this year, and the outgoing Kona N will overlap with the upcoming 2024 Kona (regular range) but is not set to be overhauled into the next generation. Once it’s gone, it’s gone (as a petrol-powered N model anyway).
That leaves only the i30 N hatch and the Elantra N. However, the i30 N hatchback is not likely to live on for the next-generation either. Hyundai vice president of N Brand management and motorsport, Till Wartenberg, revealed some clues late last year during the Australian N Festival event. When asked whether there would be future ICE-powered N models, he told media:
“Honestly, fully new ones, I don’t think so. At this moment we’re discussing to be as long as possible with combustion engines. But the regulations, for example Euro 7, wherever that applies, makes it almost impossible to go many, many more years with combustion engines.
“So we are thinking about B and C segment, if we can prolong as long as we can. It always depends on the volume and customer requirements, and if they actually have the demand for that time period. But there we see that it’s possible, but it also has to be somewhat profitable. So we focus most of our energy at the moment on the transition to electrification. And that’s why that needs a learning moment.”
This means vehicles such as the i30 hatch as we know it could be living on borrowed time. Some speculations suggest Hyundai won’t even launch a next-gen model. That obviously means there won’t be a next-gen i30 N hatchback with a petrol engine, if that’s the case. However, Wartenberg said the brand will never stop combustion engines and go full electric on a certain date. He said:
“We never said we will stop combustion engines and go 100 per cent electric. At some point it will be that way, but we would like to phase it out for as long as possible.”
It could be sad times ahead for those of us who cherish the sounds and character of a turbo engine. However, the Elantra N is at least renewed and is likely to carry through for a few more years yet. Available in big markets such as North America, and Korea (as the Avante) and China means it should keep the bean-counters happy.
Hyundai is planning an IONIQ 5 N fully electric model, producing around 450kW, which will debut later this year. It will be followed by an IONIQ 6 N fully electric model, likely debuting in 2024 or 2025.
So, what do we know about this new Elantra? Not much, actually. That’s why we went into so much detail just then about where the brand and its vehicles are headed. Hyundai unveiled the facelift at the 2023 Auto Shanghai motor show this week and hasn’t really outlined the detailed specs – we nabbed these images from Hyundai Motor Group’s official Instagram page.
As far as we know the engine is set to carry over unchanged, producing up to 213kW during overboost, with both a six-speed manual and eight-speed dual-clutch auto set to continue. What will change is the design.
The front end incorporates the new-look company face, with a full-width daytime running light, and a revised rear end adding a new spoiler and different diffuser elements. The wheels are also fresh.
We’re not expecting a huge change inside as the Elantra/i30 Sedan is already based on the newer K3 platform, unlike the K2 that underpins the i30 hatch. So it comes with the twin digital screens and all of that. Hyundai will probably introduce its new Bluelink car connectivity suite, though, with over-the-air update capability.
Hyundai Australia is yet to say anything official about the new model. We understand it will launch here later this year. More details are expected very soon.