This is it. The first ever fully electric proper N model from Hyundai, the IONIQ 5 N. It makes its public debut at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, and it will go on sale in Australia next year.
This is a big deal for not only Hyundai but also driving and sportscar fans around the world. It is, likely, a sign of things to come in the future as the automotive industry in terms of passenger cars transitions to fully electric powertrain systems.
Firstly, let’s investigate the power system. Similar to the Kia EV6 GT, the IONIQ 5 N rides on the E-GMP architecture and uses two electric motors to propel the front and rear axles. However, various components are completely bespoke to the N, including the battery which has a capacity of 84kWh.
Power is sent to two motors that combine to produce 609PS (448kW) and 740Nm (the same torque as the EV6 GT). However, engaging the ‘N Grin Boost’ mode sees power lift up to 650PS (478kW) and torque lift to 770Nm. Across the 0-100km/h sprint the clock stops in just 3.5 seconds, or 3.4 seconds with NGB engaged.
The electrical system comprises an 800V backbone, offering ultra fast charging and discharging, as well as a bespoke regenerative braking system that promises consistent braking performance. In fact, Hyundai says the system is so good at heat management, carbon ceramic brakes are not needed.
Braking performance is supplied by 400mm front and 360mm rear discs, made from a special hybrid construction, with monoblock four-piston calipers on the front and custom air intakes for optimised cooling. These hide behind Hyundai N-developed 21-inch forged aluminium wheels that wear 275/35 Pirelli P-Zero tyres.
Not only is it quick in a straight line, the IONIQ 5 N showcases various technologies to help improve track performance and ensure driving fun. And it’s all been developed to fulfil three main objectives: corner rascal, racetrack capability, and everyday sportscar.
The body and platform are reinforced over the regular model, with 42 additional welding points and 2.1 metres of added structural adhesive to boost overall rigidity. Even the battery mounting and motor mountings are reinforced to withstand the added demands of track driving. It also features WRC-inspired Integrated Drive Axles (IDA) front and rear.
In terms of driving tech, you’ve got N Torque Distribution that basically provides fully variable torque-split between the front and rear axle, as well as an electronic limited-slip differential, N Drift Optimiser to help provide controlled drifting, and integrated Torque Kick Drift functionality to provide clutch-kick-like action.
There’s also the standard Normal, Eco, and Sport modes, as well as two custom N modes, and the N Grin Boost setting that provides extra output for 10 seconds at a time. It also comes with N Launch Control, and Drag Mode and Track Mode settings that program the battery preconditioning for optimised performance.
As a bonus, the IONIQ 5 N also debuts N e-shift that simulates the behaviour of an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, including engine braking, along with N Active Sound that provides exciting noises during start-up and acceleration.
In terms of the design, it is textbook N car. The front end incorporates a neat splitter and lip spoiler, with a trademark red stripe around the skirting. Around at the back is a chunky diffuser and unique vertical-stacked vents, with a spoiler up top.
Inside, passengers are treated to a subtle but sporty atmosphere, with bucket seats sitting lower than the standard seats, a new N steering wheel for the driver, Alcantara and leather trim, with a 12.3-inch touch-screen and 12.3-inch instrument cluster display. The new model also offers over-the-air (OTA) update capability.
Hyundai Australia will launch the IONIQ 5 N locally in 2024. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but we suspect it will sit higher than the $99,590 Kia EV6 GT.