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First Look

Hyundai’s new i30N Fastback is a hot hatch with less hatchback

Golf GTI too square for you? Korea’s cooked up a pert-tailed alternative…

Published: 26 Sep 2018

Here’s a coupe-fied niche-mobile we can get on board with. At last.

See, Hyundai’s created a swoopy-roofed version of its superb i30N hot hatch. Meet the i30N Fastback, as everyone will call it. Except Hyundai, which insists on clumsily titling it the i30 Fastback N. Which looks like a typo.

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In the UK, we’ll only be getting the ultimate N Performance version of the i30 Fastback. It ups power from 248bhp to 273bhp, and chops 0.3sec from the 0-62mph sprint – it’s dusted in 6.1 seconds. Don’t go looking for token acceleration gains versus the i30N hatchback – the Fastback N is exactly as quick as its slightly roomier sibling.

You still get a 450-litre boot and five doors, so anyone seduced by the cute tail (and not put off by a slightly odd front-three quarter view) won’t be too hard-done by on space. And they’ll end up with one of Top Gear’s absolute favourite real-world fast cars of 2018, if the sensational hatch is anything to go by.

Happily, Hyundai’s gamble of setting itself up to fight the Golf GTI, Seat Leon Cupra and Renault Megane RS hasn’t fallen flat either. While revealing the i30 N Fastback – as we shall insist on calling it – the company has also announced “…almost 3,000 i30 N five-door hatchback units were sold in the first half of 2018 in Europe… exceeding initial sales expectations.”

See, it’s not just that’s been bowled over by Korea’s upstart assault on the hot hatch scene. Folks are buying these things at a rate even Hyundai didn’t expect. Good job Hyundai is better at setting up fast hatches than they are at naming them.

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