2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N blurs the line between gas and EV performance cars

It gets racecar sounds and simulated gearshifts.

By Dan Heyman Wheels.ca

Jul 13, 2023 5 min. read

Article was updated 2 months ago

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The Hyundai Ioniq was a massively successful line drawn in the sand for the South Korean brand. Though the brand has been growing by leaps and bounds over the course of the last decade, the arrival of the futuristic-yet-somewhat-retro Ioniq 5 took them to another level by delivering a battery-electric vehicle that was quickly accepted by folks that may never have considered an EV. Further than that, it bucked the trend of manufacturers having to dial back the design of their EVs to attract more conservative buyers.

While the Ioniq 5 was putting Hyundai’s EV bonafides on the map, its N division was doing similar work at the other end of the spectrum by delivering fast hatchbacks and sedans, a segment that German and Japanese manufacturers have mastered for years. Not only that, Hyundai N went racing as well, in top-tier divisions such as the World Rally Championship.

So, it was inevitable that these two pillars of the Hyundai brand would eventually intersect, and they’ve done so in the form of the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N revealed today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It represents the first application of N tech to an EV Hyundai…or is that the first application of EV tech to an N Hyundai?

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

Well, it’s neither actually, because we’ve seen the Ioniq 5 N, only it was called the RN22e and it looked like the Ioniq 6 sedan with a host of aero addenda. Modular EV platforms being what they are, however, what we were actually looking at there is exactly what’s found under the hood of the first “official” Ioniq N car. Unless you count the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR racer they’ve been campaigning since 2020, but being a race car built solely to compete in the FIA’s ETCR (“electric touring car”) series, we’re going to drop an asterisk beside that one.

The N ETCR, however, did form the basis of this new Ioniq N car in that it showed that electrification and performance driving could go hand-in-hand.

“Electrification has changed our cars, but not our hearts,” said Till Wartenberg, VP of Hyundai N and Motorsport. “Our motorsports DNA defined how we created our first electric vehicle, and the Ioniq 5 N is tasked with electrifying enthusiasts.”

That might sound like simple media speak, but Hyundai is backing it up by giving the Ioniq 5 N all manner of performance tweaks, both inside and out. This is no lace-curtain job, but a thorough redesign and reengineering of the platform.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

It starts at the heart, with the N being provided an 84 kWh battery as opposed to the 77 kWh item found in the standard car, good for up to 640 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque once you’ve activated the “N Grin Boost” mode with the press of a button. That power allows for a claimed 0-100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 260 km/h. It will sound the business, too, with artificial engine noise in the new Drag and Track modes that will reportedly have the Ioniq 5 N sound like a proper touring car, complete with a pop-pop-popping exhaust on overrun. Not only that, but Hyundai has included a “transmission” with eight simulated gears and tuning so that you actually feel the “jolt” between shifts, just like you would in a gas N model equipped with a dual-clutch transmission. There is also launch control and even a drift mode.

Not only has the Ioniq 5 N been developed for on-road performance, but to succeed on the track as well which is why it gets better thermal management thanks in part to a stacked-cell battery, 275-section Pirelli P Zero rubber, more responsive steering with a stronger steering column, improved torsional stiffness, upgraded suspension with a broader comfort-performance bandwidth and four-piston front brakes, strong enough to provide up to 2 Gs of braking force and earning them the “strongest brakes ever on a Hyundai” moniker.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

This being an EV, the brakes are also partially responsible for providing battery regen. In that light, regen provides primary braking force, and in daily driving 80-90% of braking is done by regen, meaning no pad or disc wear. Those elements come more into play during more high performance or track driving, where Hyundai has seen up to 44% of power used returned to the battery.

“These are huge numbers,” said Tyrone Johnson, director of vehicle development at Hyundai Motor Europe. “We believe regen will define braking performance in all high performance EVs in the future.”

While the larger battery and wheels and tires do make the N heavier than the standard car, they have developed countermeasures via software tuning and power distribution to offset that and the bottom line is that with a 3.4 second 0-100 time, the Ioniq 5 N will have little trouble disguising the added weight – indeed, that was crucial for Hyundai.

“There are a lot of EVs that can go fast in a straight line, but who kind of lack the enjoyment of driving (and) the interaction between the car, the road and the driver,” Wartenberg said. “So that was our main goal: to put an end to this and put N DNA into electrification.”

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

To better look the part of a performance vehicle, the Ioniq 5 N gets a more aggressive front splitter, “sharkfins” on the bumper corners, larger rear spoiler, N-specific triangular central brake light and special 21-inch alloys with aerodynamic inserts. There’s also a new luminous orange accent stripe wrapped around the body and unique paint choices, including the Performance Blue seen on other N models but available in either matte or gloss finish on the Ioniq.

We’ll have to wait to drive the Ioniq 5 N until later this year, but considering the figures and what Hyundai is saying, it’s a drive that we are very much looking forward to and it could be a banner moment for Hyundai, the N brand, and the Ioniq brand.


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