Hyundai is expected to start with i20 N-Line before ushering in the full-fledged N performance variants
A performance division is a proven way to improve an automotive brand’s emotional quotient and image. Mercedes’ AMG, BMW’s M, VW’s GTI, Skoda’s RS, Ford’s GT and several others serve as living proof to this hypothesis. Hyundai has seen its status in the global market steadily rise over the last few decades and is now fully geared up to unleash a comprehensive line of go-faster variants of its existing portfolio.
Hyundai i20 N-Line being planned for India
The South Korean automaker’s early experimentation with the N performance division has been a huge success in Europe. Hyundai’s experience in WRC and its recent push to improve driving dynamics of its vehicles by setting up an R&D facility at Nurburgring have started paying dividends. So, it is only logical for the brand to come up with more performance-oriented models and expand their reach to new markets.
Next only to Maruti in the Indian market, Hyundai already has a solid brand image which could be consolidated with the N performance brand. According to a recent report, the company is planning to start things with the i20 N-Line variant sometime in mid-2021.
2021 Hyundai i20 N-Line will be featuring a 120 hp version of the 1.0-liter three-cylinder T-GDI turbo petrol engine with a sportier exhaust system. Like other N-Line variants, the premium hatchback is expected to feature minor suspension tweaks in addition to exterior and interior enhancements.
Net result is a sportier model that will not cost a fortune to acquire. In India, the Hyundai i20 N-Line is estimated to be priced at around INR 12 lakh (ex-showroom).
More Hyundai N models coming to India?
Hyundai India is also reportedly considering the import of full fledged i20 N performance variant under the government’s 2500-units per annum homologation-free scheme. The N performance variant will pack a 204 hp motor, upgraded spring and dampers, stiffened suspension system, larger wheels and stronger brakes. As a CBU, the estimated price of the hot hatchback is around INR 25-30 lakh (ex-showroom). The company may even consider local assembly in the future if the demand justifies it.
The market response for the Hyundai i20 N-Line variant will determine if more such go-faster variants will be launched in the country. The Grand i10 Nios, Venue, Creta and even the Verna could receive the N-Line variant extension in the foreseeable future.
Hyundai is not the first mass market brand to try to performance variants in India. Tata Motors experimented with JTP division in association with Jayem Automotive. While the cars received positive initial reviews, the automaker decided not to upgrade them to BS6 standards owing to poor demand amidst challenging market conditions. It would be interesting to see how Hyundai approach this niche segment.