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Hyundai N boss: AWD and paddleshift in development

The Hyundai i30 N launches as a FWD manual, but more tech will come

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The Hyundai i30 N is a reassuringly traditional hot hatch. It sticks with front-wheel drive, a manual gearbox and even a manual handbrake.

But as the N brand grows, expect more tech to arrive, says boss Albert Biermann. First we ask him about four-wheel drive, given some of the i30 N’s rivals, such as the Ford Focus RS and VW Golf R, use that layout.

“We have been testing four-wheel drive,” Biermann confirms. “But there is no plan at the moment to offer an N car with it. Of course we are looking into this. We have all our in-house tech, and the cost of the car could still be reasonable.

“But we are just starting with the N brand. People need time to discover N, and understand what it is. Maybe later we can add stuff like this. There are prototypes out there and it is not a big deal to do it.”

So that means an injection of power for something like the i30 N, we wager. “Without a high amount of power there is no need to go to all-wheel drive,” Biermann says. An extra 100bhp over the 271bhp i30 N Performance Package, perhaps? “At this point I don’t know,” he says, chuckling.

What about a paddleshift gearbox? “We are developing such a transmission in Hyundai and we are thinking sooner or later to bring it in to the range,” he says. But will N cars always offer a transmission choice? “Yes. Manual has to survive of course!”

Like the sound of so much choice? Or should the simplicity of the i30 N’s current range be celebrated?

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