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Hyundai's i30 N Line is a hot hatch that's cooled down

Can't justify an i30N? Its seats and 'its spirit' are in this cheaper N Line

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This is the Hyundai i30 N Line, and it’s reasonably interesting. It looks like an i30N, for starters, and that’s one of the very best hot hatches on sale.

We’re used to this sort of stuff now, of course. S Line Audis are pretending to be proper Audi S cars, AMG Line Mercs are pretending to be proper AMGs, and so on. It’s a simple formula, one that everyone’s following.

The N Line is at least more in-depth than a wannabe styling pack, though. Beneath the surface is the 140bhp 1.4-litre petrol that sits at the top of the i30’s sensible engine range. While it has just half of the i30N’s power, it doesn’t have half the performance, still hitting 62mph in under nine seconds.

Hyundai’s fettled its response, too, while the suspension’s tweaked and the brakes are bigger. They sit behind larger 18in alloys – the first time they’ve appeared on a non-N i30 – which have some proper Michelin tyres on them. Even better, you get the i30N’s brilliant sports seats and taut, round gear knob.

Whether it’s all strictly necessary for 140bhp is another argument, but it’s nice that Hyundai’s adding more than styling. And it backs up what N division boss Albert Biermann told Top Gear at this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours.

“When I like a car, we give it some attention and push it a little bit more. The mission for N is not only to make a high-performance car, but bring this thinking to other cars. Any of our cars is strong enough to make it into an N.”

So you can expect more like this. He described the i30 N Line as “not to the level of i30N, but with some of its spirit”.

Which, if you can’t justify a £28k Hyundai that just scrapes 30mpg, might be very appealing indeed. The N Line starts at £21,255, saving you a huge chunk of money if you don’t need a 271bhp hatch. You can have a seven-speed automatic in the i30 N Line too, which you can’t specify in the i30N.

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