Hyundai plans 200kW i30 hot hatch

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Hyundai is serious about developing a performance range of vehicles under its SR banner, which will be fleshed out by the new Accent SR later this year and a piping-hot 200kW i30 hot hatch within a few years.

During the launch of Hyundai’s new 129kW i30 SR, the most powerful i30 to date and the Korean brand’s second SR model after the Veloster Turbo SR, Hyundai Australia's Senior Manager for Product Planning, Scott Williams, told that a tyre-frying i30 hot hatch could be ready by 2015.

Momentum is building within Hyundai to develop performance oriented vehicles, with Australia one of the key markets pushing the go-fast barrow, and Williams said the new 129kW i30 SR was a "stepping stone" to the next level.

"We've got tier one, entry-level models, now we have tier two [the i30 SR] with performance and suspension improvements, so the next step would logically be a tier three car, like a Mazda3 MPS," he said.

Williams would't reveal what engine will power the 'tier three' i30 hot hatch, but the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine used in the Santa Fe Sport, which outputs 197kW/365Nm, appears more likely than the Veloster Turbo SR's 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine.

The latter engine will power sister company Kia’s new Koup (due here in October) and all-new Pro_cee’d GT hatch (expected early next year).

The smaller Korean brand confirmed both turbo models for Australia at this week’s launch of the new Cerato hatch, most versions of which are powered by the Hyundai i30 SR’s 129kW 2.0-litre atmo engine.

Another option for the top-tier i30 is an all-new direct-injected 2.0-litre turbo engine not yet publicly announced.

Whatever the case, it will be potent. Williams baulked when it was suggested the i30 hot hatch would offer 150kW. "More like 150 to 200kW,” he said.

"Going forward we'll be looking at 2.0-litre engines more actively. Certainly you need an entry-level base engine, which should be a 1.6 or a 1.8, and mid and higher grades could be 2.0-litre," he said.

When questioned about timing, Williams proffered: "I'd say two or three years from now".

He said getting Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) in Korea on board with new performance projects will be dependent on cars like the i30 SR reaching sales targets, currently set at 200 to 250 sales per month.

Hyundai also confirmed at the i30 SR launch that the Accent SR sports hatch concept, which was previewed alongside the i30 SR at last year’s Sydney motor show will become a showroom production model in November.

“I’m delighted to advise that this car too is moving rapidly towards the production phase, and should be available in Australia within three months,” said HMCA Director of Marketing Oliver Mann.

Australian will be the first in the world to have access to both the i30 SR and Accent SR and both models have been the subject of a significant local tuning program.

Expected to be priced from about $21,000, the Accent SR will not be a rival for hot hatches such as the Fiesta ST and Polo GTI, but a warm hatch to compete with sporty light-sized hatchbacks like the Kia Rio SLi and Suzuki Swift Sport.


By Feann Torr


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