Hyundai is maybe the second-largest carmaker in India but the manufacturer has always shied away from its bringing its performance models to India which it sells in markets abroad. We have been given glimpses of several Hyundai N performance cars at quite a few Auto Expos but none of them was ever officially launched in the market. However, all that is set to change very soon, as Hyundai will soon be debuting their N performance brand in India, starting with the Hyundai i20 N Line. The Hyundai i20 N Line was recently spotted testing near Manesar, images of which were shared with us by an IAB reader. But before we tell you about the i20 N Line, here's a little background to the Hyundai performance arm.
So what is Hyundai's N performance brand?
Hyundai's N performance brand is fairly new but the company is thrilled with its success. Hyundai's N-badged cars are fairly popular in Germany and the UK but more importantly, it has given the brand a new identity and quite some respect. Just like Volkswagen's GTI lineup or Ford's RS models, the N-badged cars can trace back their DNA to Hyundai's World Rally Championship success. Hyundai's N performance brand is named after the carmaker's Namyang R&D centre and Hyundai’s European Technical Centre at the Nürburgring race track in Germany.
What about the Hyundai i20 N Line?
The first N model in India will be the Hyundai i20 N-Line. Do not mistake the i20 N-Line to be full-blown i20 N that comes powered with a 204hp 1.6L turbo-petrol engine and looks like a proper hot hatch with lots of aero trickery. These 'N-Line' cars are based on the regular models but come with some suspension mods, tweaked steering and have various sporty exterior and interior embellishments. Likewise, the i20 N Line is based on the regular i20 with the 120hp 1.0L turbo-petrol engine, but gets a sportier exhaust, retuned suspension and also differentiates itself with a sportier body kit and interior theme.
The Hyundai i20 N Line test mule was reportedly doing speeds upwards of 120 kph. The standard i20 hatchback is already a pretty fast car in its turbo-petrol DCT spec, and with retuned suspension and tweaked steering, the i20 N Line could very well be the most enticing hot hatch Indians had been looking for. The fact that Hyundai's N-Line of cars do not cost a fortune, it won't have too high a premium over the regular i20. It could even be priced somewhere around INR 12 lakh (ex-showroom).
What else is in store for India?
Following the i20 N Line, Hyundai could be looking at bringing the full-blown 204hp 120 N to India as a full import under the 2,500-car quota scheme. This could however be a little expensive (around INR 25-30 lakh) on account of being an import and a proper performance car. If the market responds well to N cars in India, Hyundai could even be looking at locally assembling the more powerful N cars here. Hyundai is also likely to launch N-Line versions of the Nios, Venue and the new Elantra, some of which are already on sale in several markets abroad.