2021 Hyundai i20 N: hot hatch drops disguise in new testing shots

Hyundai’s N performance line-up will expand in the coming months with two new models: the Kona N crossover and the long-awaited i20 N hot hatch.

Officially previewed in winter testing last month, the Ford Fiesta ST challenger can now be seen without restrictive black cladding to disguise the shape. It’s being put through its paces at the Nürburgring, wearing the production bodywork of the new-generation i20 (revealed earlier this year) on which it is based. 

First drive: 2020 Hyundai i20 MHEV prototype 

The test hack our snappers have caught at the German circuit is wearing the trademark features of a performance model, including a wheel design inspired by the bigger i30 N hiding red painted brake callipers, revised front and rear bumpers and intakes and a large single exhaust outlet mounted in a diffuser-style lower trim. A prominent roof spoiler is also visible.

Expect similarly sporting upgrades to the i20 N’s interior, including figure-hugging sports seats, liberal N badging and different trim details. 

Powertrain details for the i20 N remain scarce. We know it is powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the official preview video,  but it’s unclear if it makes use of a detuned version of the i30 N’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Another likely candidate is the Korean brand’s widely used 1.6-litre T-GDi motor. This offers 174bhp in the flagship Kona but would need to be boosted to around 200bhp in order to ensure its competitiveness with rivals such as the Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI. 

As with the i30 N, the hot supermini will continue to be developed at Hyundai’s Nürburgring test facility. Expect a bespoke chassis set-up with stiffer springs and dampers, as well as some of the adjustable drive modes offered in its bigger sibling. 

Autocar understands that both the Kona N and i20 N will go on sale early next year. Given the typical unveiling a few months prior, we could see both minus the disguise before 2020 is out. 

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