The engine soundtrack is music to our ears.
The very same prototype was spotted a couple of times by our spies last month, but now Hyundai has been kind enough to remove the extra layer of camouflage. The black pieces of fabric (see below) are now gone and all that’s left is a thin body wrap to conceal the finer details of South Korea's next hot hatch. Not only is this our best look yet at the i20 N, but we also get to hear the raspy soundtrack provided by the prototype’s engine.
It was caught at the Nürburgring (of course!) where Hyundai is currently putting the finishing touches on its answer to the likes of the VW Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST. That said, it probably won’t be on the same level as the new star of supermini performance cars – the Toyota GR Yaris. From those large wheels backed by beefy brakes to the prominent roof spoiler at the back, you can easily tell this isn’t an ordinary variant of the supermini. Crank up the volume and it’s clear we’re dealing with the full-fat N model.
There are other signs further revealing the car’s identity, such as the dual exhaust tips and what appear to be body-hugging front seats with integrated headrests. The car sits visibly closer to the road than a mundane i20 while hiding a pair of generous air intakes in the front bumper. As to what’s underneath the bonnet, we’re tempted to believe it’s a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine.
If our assumption is correct, look for the i20 N to offer somewhere in the region of 201 bhp and 265 Newton-metres (195 pound-feet) of torque, as seen in the Kia Ceed GT. It would represent a massive upgrade over the regular i20, which has to make do with 118 bhp from a small three-pot 1.0-litre turbo engine. We’re hoping Hyundai will give buyers the chance to pick between a six-speed manual and a dual-clutch automatic to please both worlds. The i20 N will likely be a front-wheel-drive-only affair as opposed to the AWD-equipped GR Yaris.
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An official premiere should take place in the months to come when Hyundai is also expected to take the wraps off the Kona N.