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Hyundai RN30 concept set to rival the Ford Focus RS

By raccars Published

Hyundai RN30

Hyundai concept previews the company's high performance i30N production car due next year.

Hyundai has unveiled its feisty RN30 concept car based upon the i30 hatchback. It is the preview to Hyundai’s first ‘N’ car which will set the ball rolling for the Korean manufacturer's new performance division.

The RN30 shown off in Paris, however, has more of a motorsport feel than that expected in the production car. This is evident in its striking livery, bucket seats, racing steering wheel, roll cage and full aero bodykit.

A racing car for the road

To add to its racing credentials, the Hyundai RN30 concept boasts a 2.0-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol engine producing a respectable 375bhp. All four wheels, meanwhile, are powered through the car’s all-wheel drive system which uses a racing dual-clutch gearbox, complete with rev-matching capabilities.

The drama is boosted further by its variable exhaust system, whilst its limited-slip differential means it is best-suited to track driving.

The car is made using a plastic compound to keep the weight down in order to boost the handling. Set back seats also assist with handling by maintaining the balance of the car. When compared with the production Hyundai i30, the RN30 has an extra 30mm in width and is 84mm lower.

It is the radical changes to its bodywork, however, that mark the RN30 out as a true concept car. There’s a definite aggression to the combination of its huge rear diffuser, front splitter, large green fog lamp surrounds and ‘floating’ front wheel arches. The racing car theme continues inside the RN30 concept thanks to its roll cage and bucket seats. There are also full harnesses taking the place of seatbelts and the entire interior has a stripped-out feel. The i30N road car is to be launched in 2017 and will feature elements of the concept car, although it will be nowhere near as race-like as the RN30.

A racy neighbour for the RN30 concept

The racing-inspired RN30 shared the Paris motor show stand with a real racer in the form of Hyundai’s 2017 i20 World Rally Championship (WRC) vehicle. This looks set to compete with the likes of Citroen and Volkswagen during next year’s season. New regulations also mean there’s a power increase to 375bhp.

The new regulations will allow teams to boost the downforce in a car, making the contest set for its fastest ever year. Concepts such as the RN30 and the confirmed i30N production car also presage a fiery future.

Hyundai’s engineering head Albert Biermann, who was poached from the BMW M division to head up the new N division, says the car that will go on sale next year will be more akin to the i30 than it is to the RN30, offering a sportier alternative to the base level i30.

He added that Hyundai does not have an established customer base in the high-performance segment, meaning that its first endeavour should not ‘be too big’. The Koreans dabbled in the hot market by launching the Kia Ceed GT. This time, however, it is aiming higher.

The concept’s 2.0 heavily-turbocharged engine utilises forged pistons, delivering 374bhp and 333lb ft of torque. This means it shares its output with the i20-based WRC car for 2017, and Mercedes’ AMG A45.

Biermann says the power output will allow it to establish itself in the hot hatch arena whilst not breaking any Nurburgring lap records. There will be a base version, together with a stablemate with greater emphasis on performance. Both will have different characters. One will be racetrack capable whilst still focusing on everyday driving, whilst the other will have more of a track-going persona.

Biermann indicated that the cars would start out with manual transmission but that there was an eight-speed wet-clutch DCT in development that will feature in the N car when ready.

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