Hyundai i30 N, i20 N hot hatches dropped in Europe, safe in Australia with facelifts

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The Hyundai i20 N and i30 N hot hatchbacks are not going anywhere in Australia – and are in line for styling updates later this year – despite being axed in Europe, where the majority are sold.

The Hyundai i30 N and i20 N hot hatches have been axed in Europe – their largest markets – but will live on in Australia for the immediate future, a company spokesperson confirmed to Drive.

It will leave Australia as one of the few countries where Hyundai’s debut hot hatchbacks are still sold after the shock announcement was made overnight production of both models has ended for Europe.

Hyundai has been working on facelifts for the i30 N and i20 N – seen in spy photos and confirmed by executives – and while they will not be sold in Europe, Drive understands they are still planned for Australia and other regions where the cars are still sold.

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Updated i30 N spy photos.

“Production of the [petrol] N models has ceased for the European market starting from February,” a statement by Hyundai Europe to overseas media reads.

“Going forward in Europe, Hyundai is developing Hyundai N as a pioneer of high-performance [electric vehicles]. Our customers will benefit from technological developments that will make EVs even more attractive in the future.”

It is a surprise U-turn from plans shown to German media this time last year for a facelifted i30 N hatch due in October 2023 – and comments from former Hyundai N boss and now-company technical advisor Albert Biermann that an updated i20 N was due on sale in Europe in mid-2023.

Prototypes of facelifted Hyundai i30 N hot hatches were spotted testing in Europe as recently as November 2023.

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While they will not be available in Europe, it is understood updates for the i20 N and i30 N are still bound for Australia later this year – though Hyundai Australia is yet to confirm its plans.

The regular version of the updated Hyundai i30 was earmarked this time last year for a European launch in September 2023, but it has been delayed and is now not due until April this year.

Drive has previously reported Australian arrivals of the updated i30 N hatch – which is expected to bring mild cosmetic changes, rather than more power – are due by the end of September 2024, pending any delays.

The regular model is due at the same time, which will now be manufactured in the Czech Republic alongside the European-market regular i30, as well as all i30 N hatches sold globally. Previously Australia’s regular i30 hatch was built in South Korea.

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Current i30 N hatch.

There is now unlikely to be another generation of the i30 N and i20 N hot hatches given Europe is the main market for both vehicles – and it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell high-emissions petrol-powered performance vehicles, in Europe and Australia.

Investor documents show Hyundai built 7095 i30 N and 8321 i20 N hot hatchbacks last year.

Of those, 4630 and 5305 examples respectively – or 65 per cent of all i30 N hatchbacks, and 64 per cent of i20 Ns – were reported as sold in Europe.

In Australia last year, 637 i20 Ns – and an estimated 1200-plus i30 N hatchbacks – were sold.

The Hyundai N range in Australia will continue with the i30 N and i20 N hatchbacks alongside the i30 Sedan N – which is an unrelated vehicle built in South Korea, and already confirmed for another generation after the current model – as well as the just-launched electric Ioniq 5 N, priced from $111,000 plus on-road costs.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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