Smaller and cheaper electric Hyundai N car on the way

The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 N could be joined by a smaller electric performance car, according to a senior figure at the company

Hyundai N car
  • More affordable EV thrills on the way
  • Baby N-car likely to replace both i20 N and i30 N
  • Designed to perform both on road and track

Executive technical advisor for Hyundai Motor Group, Albert Biermann, says the company is considering a follow-up to the Ioniq 5 N, as it wants to offer “something smaller and more affordable”.

With a body longer, wider and only a little lower than a Nissan Qashqai, and a price tag starting at £65,000, being small and affordable are two qualities the otherwise impressive Ioniq 5 N can’t lay claim to, but as Biermann explains, there are still challenges in bringing something smaller to market.

How could a baby N car look?

Our exclusive render shows how a smaller electric N-car could look. It’s likely such a car would attempt to fill the roles of the i20 N, i30 N and Kona N all at once, as having such a broad range of models aimed largely at the same customer is no longer feasible.

Best hot hatchbacksTop 10 best hot hatchbacks 2024

It’s thought the car will use a hatchback rather than SUV shape though, to the benefit of aerodynamics, performance, and styling.

“We have to come up with something in the B or C [segment],” Biermann said, referring to cars the size of the i20 and i30. “There have been many discussions. At this point nothing is decided”, adding that there is “a job to do.”

How about its tech under the skin?

One of those jobs is packaging the electrical system and battery size required to handle Hyundai N’s exhaustive performance targets, which includes driving the car on a track day. 

“If it’s an N car, you want to go on the track – even for 15 or 20 minutes,” he said. “If you go 400-volt (electrics), you double the current, four times the heat dissipation. The efficiency is bad. If you think of an i30-kind of car, 400-volt is not appropriate.”

The Ioniq 5 N gets around this thanks to 800-volt architecture shared with cars like the Porsche Taycan, but such a system is complex and expensive, and creating it just for a smaller N car may not be financially viable. That means other Hyundai and Kia models may need to adopt the technology first, in order to spread the cost across a wider range of vehicles.

Affordability is key, since once the £26,500 Hyundai i20 N and £36,000 i30 N disappear from sale – with the Kona N small SUV having already departed – the maker will be left with little to offer enthusiast buyers. “[A] small N-car EV – that is something we have to do, otherwise, we leave our customers in the dark” Biermann said.

Read our in-depth review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N – the most exciting EV we've driven yet

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