2021 Hyundai i30 N facelift teased, to get 8-speed DCT

Hyundai has released several photos teasing the arrival of the i30 N facelift, more than half a year since the i30 facelift was unveiled. While the photos have been darkened, one can still make out the updated design, which Hyundai says is more focused on “dynamic performance, emotion and statement.”

Up front, the hot hatch gets a wider grille with an accentuated 3D pattern to go with the slimmer LED headlights with V-shaped LED DRLs. This particular variant also appears to be equipped with the multifaceted reflector LED technology, which is an optional upgrade for the i30 facelift.

The 19-inch five-spoke forged alloy wheels have been slightly redesigned, and Hyundai says these are over 14 kg lighter than the older 19-inch units, thereby reducing unsprung mass. At the back, it gets the same new LED combination tail lights with V-shaped graphics, a revised lower bumper with integrated diffuser, and much larger dual exhaust exits.

According to Ollie Kew from Top Gear, who has already sample a pre-production unit, the i30 N facelift will get its 2.0 litre turbocharged four-potter uprated slightly to make 280 PS and 392 Nm of torque, but this is specifically for the N Performance variant. With a manual gearbox, the front-drive hatch does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 5.9 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds quicker than before.

New to the i30 N facelift, however, is the eight-speed dual-clutch N DCT transmission. This includes dedicated N performance shifting functions (the first Hyundai model in Europe to do so), allowing drivers to set parameters for engine response, suspension, differential, exhaust/engine noise, steering, and rev-matching parameters. The interface for these functions have also been simplified.

Prior to this, the i30 N was only available with a six-speed manual. Hyundai did have a seven-speed DCT (developed in-house) in its inventory, but equipping that gearbox to the i30 N would necessitate an engine detune. The new eight-speed N DCT changes things, even offering a function called ‘N Grin Shift’, which primes the driveline for maximum performance for 20 seconds. This is exactly like Porsche’s ‘Sport Response’ button.

Also included with the gearbox is the N Track Sense Shift. This system monitors your driving style and learns from it, then applies the new shifting strategy to help improve your laptimes. Kew said apart from the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the N DCT is “the best twin-clutch gearbox I’ve ever experience when left to make up its own mind.” Those are some big bold claims, but one thing is clear – Hyundai’s N division put in a lot of work improving on what is essentially a mid-life update.

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