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2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Is No Mere Carbon-Copy Kia

2024 hyundai ioniq 5 n prototype
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Prototype: Swede EmotionHyundai

Hyundai's hopped-up N lineup is one of the most interesting corners of the affordable-car universe. Every vehicle under this banner carries all manner of user adjustability, from damping stiffness to tailpipe volume. These settings let owners settle into a groove that better aligns with their personal tastes, and it helps sets N apart from less configurable competitors. The Ioniq 5 N will be the first performance EV in this parade, and after spending some time sliding across a frozen lake or two, we're happy to report that the future of N is about as bright as can be.

At its winter proving grounds in Arjeplog, Sweden, Hyundai admitted it's not quite ready to divulge full specs. All we know right now is that the Ioniq 5 N's dual electric motors combine for a net output of 600-ish horsepower. This is no mere facsimile of the 576-hp Kia EV6 GT, despite the pair sharing the E-GMP platform. There are fewer underlying components in common than you may think—many of its underpinnings were tweaked just for the N division.

Aesthetically, the Ioniq 5 N retains the dedication to theater we see on the Kona and Elantra N models. Outside, there's a massive rear diffuser, large wheels with a clever design, bigger brakes, fatter fenders and tires, and a more aggressive front bumper. Inside, the 5 N's steering wheel picks up four extra buttons for shuffling through its drive modes and enabling various features. The biggest change, though, is the inclusion of a fixed center console; whereas the standard version may seek to boost interior volume, the N variant would rather give you a place to brace your body as the lateral g's ramp up.

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Atop a slick, mostly frozen lake amid unseasonably mild weather, with Pirelli Sottozero winter tires sans studs, slipping sideways is all but guaranteed. Hyundai had us attempt to hold a drift in the sharpest N driving mode without any electronic interference, and like any other vehicle, the Ioniq 5 N prototype demanded intense amounts of throttle and steering input to prevent a pirouette. Switching to its dedicated drift mode adjusts torque distribution at each wheel to better hold a drift after initiating it with a fat stab of the go pedal or an abrupt lift under full brake regeneration. The steering also reduces its damping to allow for more granular control without a full arm workout. It's still on the driver to avoid spinning, but the machinations taking place in the drivetrain inspire enough confidence to hang the tail out more and for longer.

2024 hyundai ioniq 5 n prototype
Hyundai

But perhaps you don't want to use drift mode. There are still ways to customize the Ioniq 5 N's demeanor to suit your specific driving style. Four different modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, and N) adjust the steering weight, damping, and throttle sensitivity, but tons of automakers let you do that. The 5 N goes above and beyond by letting the driver alter torque distribution on a spectrum between nearly full front or rear bias. Throw everything toward the bow, and the 5 N acts just like a front-wheel-drive car would on the ice—terminal understeer with bouts of liftoff oversteer. Throw it all sternward, and you can do your best impression of a Mustang leaving Cars and Coffee.