The WRC-inspired 2021 Hyundai i20 N has finally been unveiled, along with the release date, engine specs and performance for its highly-anticipated sports variant.

Set to arrive in the first half of 2021, the 2021 Hyundai i20 N will mark Hyundai’s first entry into the light hot-hatch segment and is set to compete with the $29,990 Suzuki Swift Sport, $31,990 Ford Fiesta ST, and the $49,500 Toyota Yaris GR.

Pricing has not yet been announced, but considering the i20 N’s competition (and factoring how the $41,400 Hyundai i30 N compares to the $47,190 Volkswagen Golf GTI and $54,990 Honda Civic Type R), we would expect the i20 N to sit around the $30,000 mark.

Performance comes from a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine creating 150kW at 5,500 – 6,000rpm and 275Nm across 1,750 – 4,500rpm. Given the i20 N’s miserly 1,195kg weight, Hyundai’s 0-100km/h claim of 6.7 seconds should be easy to replicate in the real world race track. Top speed is 230km/h.

2021 Hyundai i20 N engine

To compare, the Ford Fiesta ST (potentially the i20 N’s closest rival) produces 147kW/290Nm and completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.5 seconds. 

Like the Fiesta ST, the i20 N also has its power sent through the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential. Hyundai has also noted the inclusion of its ‘N Corner Carving Differential’ – a system that, like the bigger i30 N and i30 N Fastback variants, features mechanical Torsion gears to split power across the axle. Nothing too crazy there, but given we’re currently testing the i30 N, we’re keen to see how the two compare once the i20 N comes into the DiscoverAuto garage.

Unsurprisingly, the i20 N’s specification also goes on to follow the i30 N, mirroring its driver-oriented technologies like rev matching, an adjustable exhaust system, and launch control(!).

Begrudgingly, the blue pocket rocket will also come with an ‘electronic sound generator’. We’re guessing that’s a euphemism for fake engine sounds.

Drivers will be able to select drive modes through the (enthusiastically titled) ‘N Grin Control System’, adjusting throttle response, electronic stability control sensitivity, exhaust modes, and steering weights (which also features a quicker rackover the standard i20) through four default settings – Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport+ – and a single custom mode.

Personal bests on your track day (or trip to the shops) can be recorded through the Performance Driving Data System which counts and displays lap times, acceleration times, and miscellaneous driving data (power, torque, turbo boost).

The 2021 Hyundai i20 N’s wheels, tyres and brakes have been fiddled and enhanced too, with dedicated 215/40 Pirelli P-Zero tyres wrapping the 18-inch wheels and high performance brakes (40mm larger discs up front). Upgraded suspension components include new springs, shocks, and revised geometry.

2021 Hyundai i20 N wheels

Hyundai claims the chassis has also gone through some revisions with a new anti-roll bar complementing the 12 reinforcements added across the body, aiding handling and rigidity.

Standard safety kit includes forward collision warning (FCW) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB), with pedestrian and cyclist detection; lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keep assist (LKA); and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA). But given the vehicle will likely be sold in relatively low numbers (and be targeted towards private buyers rather than fleets), it’s unlikely Hyundai will submit the vehicle to ANCAP for a full crash test assessment.

Full pricing and specs for the 2021 Hyundai i20 N will be announced closer to its launch in early 2021.

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