We already knew the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N would be something fresh compared to other performance EVs. It's said to mimic real gearshifts and engine noises in a way that somehow feels genuine, all while providing the instant acceleration you'd expect from a battery-powered bomber when you want it. Now we know that comes courtesy of a whopping 641-horsepower output that's sent to all four wheels with an electronically locking rear differential, though that's just the start.
Not only can the Ioniq 5 N burble (N Active Sound +) and bang "gears" (N e-shift) like its turbocharged 2.0-liter stablemate, the Hyundai Elantra N, but it can also simulate a clutch kick with its N Drift Optimizer engaged. That transfers the bulk of power to the rear end, helping it slide like a true hoon on command. This feature is one of many meant to make the EV more engaging than any other before it.
There's also N Race, a drive mode that maximizes energy application for wicked-fast lap times; N Pedal, which is a nifty software trick that enhances throttle sensitivity for out-of-corner blasts; N Brake Regen, which rapidly decelerates the car on-track at forces up to 0.6 G; N Torque Distribution, which provides 11 settings for power split between the front and rear; N Launch Control, which has three different traction settings to get you off the line as quickly as possible and hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds; and N Grin Boost, which delivers extra power for up to 10 seconds at a time.
You got all that? Good.
The Ioniq 5 N is 20 millimeters lower and 50 millimeters wider than its more pedestrian counterpart, giving it the sneaker-like appearance we see here. It also wears an evil-grin front fascia with dark, shadowy features that really draw your eye with the Luminous Orange accents. It gets an N-specific rear wing that's noticeable but not too obnoxious, and if you ask me, the body kit as a whole capitalizes on what the regular Ioniq 5's design already does well. It looks like a rocket ship with pixelated lighting, now with that sweet blue color.
Those wheels are 21-inch rollers shod in 275/35 Pirelli P-Zero tires, which Hyundai claims to help the new N EV stick like glue on tracks like the Nürburgring. While the bulk of braking duty is handled by the electric motors' regen settings, the car still makes use of 15.7-inch front rotors with four-piston calipers and 14.2-inch rears. According to David Beard at Car and Driver, one of the few folks outside of Hyundai who have driven this car so far, it's plenty capable of stopping in a hurry: "Throughout four flying laps [of the Nürburgring GP circuit], the brakes never relinquish stopping force, and the pedal remains firm and tidy."
There's no word yet on when we can expect to see the Ioniq 5 N for sale in the States, nor do we know how much it costs, though it is coming here relatively soon. We'll know more in due time as Hyundai builds hype with each announcement. Regardless, this hot hatch seems like a real riot in a way that other EVs haven't quite managed this far. Hyundai may have another hit on its hands.
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