The most powerful road-going Hyundai ever sold is months away from its global unveiling. Here’s what we know so far about the electric Ioniq 5 N.
The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N high-performance electric vehicle is due in Australian showrooms late this year or early next year – after it is unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK in July.
The Ioniq 5 N will not only be the first Hyundai electric car to get the N treatment, but the company’s most powerful, quickest-accelerating and largest performance vehicle to date.
It will be twinned under the skin with the Kia EV6 GT, with which it shares the Hyundai group’s E-GMP dedicated electric-car architecture.
However, Hyundai executives claim that whereas the Kia is tuned as a “grand tourer” for on-road driving – thus the GT badge – the Ioniq 5 N has been designed for sustained use on a race track without overheating or a loss of power.
Here’s everything we know so far about the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N electric ‘hot hatch’, after Drive’s Glenn Butler was given a first taste of the new model on a frozen lake in Sweden earlier this month (click the link below to read the review).
More power than two Hyundai i30 N hot hatches combined
Hyundai is yet to confirm final specifications, however former N division boss turned company technical advisor Albert Biermann told Drive the Ioniq 5 N would have “around 600 horsepower”.
This equates to about 440kW to 450kW – which if on the money, would make it more potent than its Kia EV6 GT twin, which quotes 430kW (585 metric, or 577 ‘brake’ horsepower) and 740Nm.
That is comfortably double the 206kW/392Nm output of the Hyundai i30 N hot hatch – and the most powerful production car the company has ever produced.
The Ioniq 5 N will share its dual electric motors with the Kia, developing 160kW at the front, and close to 300kW at the rear (the EV6 GT’s rear motor quotes 270kW).
However, the Hyundai – which will be the N division’s first all-wheel-drive car – will have upgraded cooling systems and different tuning to ensure it can drive on a race track for sustained periods.
Performance specifications are yet to be confirmed, but if the Kia is a guide, expect 0-100km/h to be covered in about 3.5 seconds, towards a top speed of more than 250km/h.
The battery will be larger, but the driving range is likely to be shorter
Mr Biermann confirmed to Drive the Ioniq 5 N will have “more energy capacity” than the 77.4kWh of the EV6 GT and standard Ioniq 5, thanks to next-generation battery cells that fit more energy into the same space.
However, the high-performance motors and larger alloy wheels mean it may not be able to drive as far as the standard dual-motor, 77.4kWh Ioniq 5’s claimed 454km in European WLTP lab testing.
For context, the Kia EV6 GT claims 424km in the same lab testing – compared to 484km for a less potent EV6 GT-Line all-wheel-drive model.
It will be designed to handle weekend track days
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is expected to share many of its key mechanical components – including the motors, inverters and twin-clutch rear differential – with the Kia EV6 GT.
However, Mr Biermann – who helped develop both vehicles – says that whereas the Kia is tuned mainly for spirited on-road driving, the Ioniq 5 N has been engineered to be “race-track capable”.
“We don’t care much about the EV6 GT. It has a different job to do within the company,” Mr Biermann told Drive at a preview drive event in Sweden.
“When it comes to the hardware, it’s pretty much the same [as the EV6 GT]. The platform was developed from the start to have a 160kW motor in the front. We didn’t have enough power for the rear, so we added a second inverter which gives us the power level we have now. We also worked hard to improve the cooling inside the motor.
“The way we operate those motors and the control strategy is unique to [Ioniq] 5 N.
“We claim this is an N car with racetrack capability, and [will] not degrade after five minutes. So we put a lot of effort into battery cooling and having special track modes, where before you go out on the track, you can put the battery in the perfect sweet spot for surviving as long as possible.”
This involves ensuring the batteries do not overheat – and limit the amount of power they deliver to the electric motors after a long weekend track-day session.
It is believed the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will be able to complete – or get close to – two laps of the 20.8km-long Nurburgring Nordschleife race track in Germany without overheating or any degradation in power.
In contrast, it is understood the dearer Porsche Taycan electric car – which Hyundai engineers drove as a benchmark for the Ioniq 5 N – may not be able to complete the same feat, nor Tesla’s Model S Plaid.
“We drove the [Porsche] Taycan a few times around the Nurburgring to see what’s going on, what it’s doing. We also drove Teslas of course. But that’s pretty much it,” Mr Biermann told Drive, adding there were no petrol-powered benchmarks for the Ioniq 5 N.
The executive added: “20 minutes racing, 20 minutes charging, 20 minutes racing… That is what we are testing and that is what people can go to the track day and do.”
Mr Biermann told Drive the Ioniq 5 N would weigh approximately 2.5 tonnes – or about 300kg heavier than the Kia EV6 GT, making it one of the heaviest high-performance cars on sale.
It is unclear if the car will weigh 2500kg, or if Mr Biermann is rounding up from a weight figure in the 2400kg range.
Under the skin, the Ioniq 5 N will be equipped with a similar roster of features to the EV6 GT, such as adaptive suspension, and an electric limited-slip differential that can shuffle torque across the rear axle as required for maximum acceleration out of corners.
There is also set to be a programmable mode allowing the driver to set how much power and torque goes to each axle – in 10 per cent increments between 100 per cent front and 100 per cent rear.
However, the system will be limited by the motors. For example, in front-wheel-drive mode the car will produce no more than 160kW, as this is the limit of the motor – and vice versa for the rear electric motor.
There will also be a Drift Mode, which shuffles torque between the wheels to keep the car in a controlled drift – though Mr Biermann told Drive it is still possible to spin, and the company did not want to “take the challenge out of drifting, but for drivers to enjoy the fun”.
The sizes of the brake discs are yet to be confirmed; the Kia EV6 GT has 380mm (four-piston) front and 360mm rear brakes, while the Hyundai RN22e electric concept (which previews electric N cars) features 400mm front discs.
However, Mr Biermann told Drive: “I don’t know if the 5 N has the biggest [brakes] ever on a Hyundai. The magic is not so much the brakes but the combination with the regeneration [system] that makes it a very strong brake.”
“[The energy recuperation is] supporting the brakes. So the burden on the brakes is not as big as you might think on a heavy car.”
The wheels will measure 21 inches across, wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber.
Although the Hyundai has adaptive suspension like its Kia twin, the Ioniq 5 N will be tuned differently. It remains to be seen if it receives an Australian suspension tune tailored to local roads like the EV6 GT.
It will come with fake gear shifts and driving noise
As previously reported by Drive, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will be equipped with “Virtual Grin Shift”, a feature which uses the electric motors and their software to simulate gear shifts from a dual-clutch automatic transmission.
It can be controlled by the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, with each simulated gear change accompanied by a small jolt in the power from the electric motors – which actually makes the car slower in a straight line, though it can be turned off.
Drivers will also be able to choose between three simulated driving soundtracks.
The styling will be sportier inside and out
Spy photos show the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will receive a comprehensive exterior body kit, with new front and rear bumpers, larger wheels, a lower ride height, new side skirts, and an enlarged rear roof spoiler.
Inside, there will be sports bucket seats – expected to be the units in the Hyundai i30 N petrol hatch and Kia EV6 GT electric car– plus a new steering wheel, and a range of light blue and red accents.
It is expected to cost $100,000
Pricing for the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is yet to be confirmed, however the related Kia EV6 GT retails for $99,590 plus on-road costs in Australia.
Given its unique battery cooling hardware and N-specific upgrades compared to the Kia, the Ioniq 5 N may be dearer than its sibling, and break the $100,000 before on-road costs barrier.
This would comfortably make it the most expensive Hyundai ever sold in Australia – when its luxury Genesis brand is excluded – surpassing the $88,000 plus on-road costs Ioniq 6 Epiq AWD electric sedan, and $85,000 plus on-road costs Ioniq 5 Epiq AWD.
More details are due closer to the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N’s Australian showroom arrival in late 2023 or early 2024.