It could be a number of things, including an AWD prototype and/or a dual-clutch auto variant.
It’s a known fact that Hyundai is just getting started with the i30 N as the hot hatch is going to receive a number of updates throughout its life cycle. A dual-clutch automatic transmission has been a long time in the making and is likely still on the agenda, while an all-wheel-drive layout is already being tested. It’s unclear whether this camouflaged prototype spotted near the Nürburgring had the DCT and/or AWD, but it goes to show Hyundai is about to add more spice to its i30.
There’s also the possibility we’re dealing with a track-focused derivative akin to the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R by featuring an assortment of chassis, suspension, and brake upgrades complemented by a weight loss. It could be a suitable candidate for the first DCT-equipped i30 N to shave off those precious tenths of a second around a race circuit.
Look at the prototype’s wheels and you’ll notice these are not the standard alloys, but the optional 20-inch set introduced back in October 2018 at the Paris Motor Show on the i30 N with N Option. Pictured at the bottom, that one had a carbon fiber hood and rear wing along with more than 20 new parts previewing a hotter version of the VW Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST fighter.
Whatever this is, Hyundai is expected to unveil the new i30 N flavor at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It will be interesting to see whether the South Korean marque will go after the front-wheel-drive production car record at the Green Hell taking into account the high-performance division’s “N” stands for Nürburgring (and also for the R&D center in Namyang). Hyundai actually has a test center at the ‘Ring, so it would make perfect sense to try and dethrone the Megane RS Trophy-R and its 7:40.1 time.
Gallery: Hyundai i30 N with N Option at the Paris Motor Show
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