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Hyundai Ioniq 5 N: a 650hp EV loon. Image by Hyundai.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N: a 650hp EV loon
Astonishing merger of Hyundai Ioniq and N sub-brands runs 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, will cost from £65k.
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What's all this about?

Hyundai has announced prices for the first car that blends its 'Ioniq' electric and 'N' high-performance sub-brands together in one glorious package. The Ioniq 5 N will cost £65,000 here in the UK and order books are open now.

That seems a lot for a Hyundai N with no engine, doesn't it?

Well, it would do, were it not for the fact the Ioniq 5 N packs robust outputs of 650hp and 740Nm. OK, as an electric vehicle (EV), it's a heavy old beast at 2,235kg. But those first numbers are nevertheless enough to see the Hyundai from 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds, and on to a top speed of 161mph wherever legal and appropriate. For outright speed, then, it's basically as fast as a Porsche Taycan Turbo S. Then there's a load of super-detailed nerdy tech to analyse, as Hyundai N wants to make sure this ballistic Ioniq 5 handles and enthrals like a good Hyundai N should.

What are the highlights?

Sitting on the unfortunately initialised E-GMP platform, with its desirable 800-volt technology, Hyundai has reinforced the car's shell with 42 additional welding points and 2.1 metres of extra adhesives to the body-in-white. Even the mountings for the twin motors - yes, the Ioniq 5 N is all-wheel drive - the battery pack, and the axles too have been uprated, while the front and rear subframes are said to have more lateral rigidity.

The 5 N's steering column has been strengthened and there's a specific N state of tune for its Rack-Mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS), which both has a higher steering ratio and enhanced torque feedback. Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS) promises improved rear-wheel damping, among other benefits, and then we come onto the weird and wonderful technology that's EV-specific.

Ooh, like what?

Like N Pedal, which uses the regenerative brakes to pre-load the front of the car with an 'aggressive weight transfer' so that it will turn in better. And N Torque Distribution, which has fully variable torque splits front to rear that can be adjusted through no fewer than 11 levels; that'll work well with the e-LSD fitted to the rear axle. Which, in turn, leads into N Drift Optimiser... yes, there's a drift mode in a Hyundai electric hatchback. Not only can this software rapidly balance multiple vehicle control systems against the driver's real-time inputs to maintain drift angles, it can also simulate a 'clutch-kick' to get your oversteer party started. However, it's possibly not all good news on the technology front.

How so?

Well, if you're vehemently against the idea of performance EVs falsely trying to imitate the best internal-combustion models of yore, look away now. The Ioniq 5 N is fitted with N e-shift and N Active Sound+. The former of these can simulate an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, right down to shift patterns and even the jolt a car with a 'true' gearbox would make as it switches between cogs - and you can switch the paddles on the steering wheel from their primary function of altering the level of regenerative braking on offer to proper 'shift' items if you want. Of course, this function wouldn't make much sense if the 650hp Hyundai EV didn't make some kind of synthesised noise to go with it.

And that's where N Active Sound+ comes in: the ten-speaker system, eight inside the car and two outside, has three sound themes. 'Ignition' makes the Ioniq 5 N sound like it is packing the tuneful 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot used in the i30 N and Kona N models, when, um, it patently isn't. 'Evolution' has a signature high-performance sound inspired by Hyundai's RN22e rolling laboratory concept that was used during development of the E-GMP platform. And 'Supersonic', well... there's no way of sugar-coating this, it makes a noise like twin-engine fighter jets. Obviously, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting... sorry, we mean, testing, so we'll reserve judgments on these technologies until we've driven the Ioniq 5 N. Safe to say two things, though: one, these imitation systems are bound to set some enthusiast drivers' teeth on edge, no matter how well executed they are; and two, at least Hyundai N is doing this with all the best intentions. Clearly, a 161mph 'petrolhead' model like this needs some acoustic and physical reference points to make its power delivery feel more engaging than just the linear mega-torque shove of any moderately muscular EV.

Hmm, I see your point. Is that it for weird technology?

Er... not quite. There's a red button to the top-right of the steering wheel boss which is marked up 'NGB'. That stands for N Grin Boost. Cringeworthy name aside, this little fella ramps the Ioniq 5 N up from its nominal 609hp - still a truly massive output for a hot hatchback, or hyper-hatch if you prefer - to the full 650hp for ten precious seconds. Oh, and the car has N Launch Control, too. Excellent.

NGB or not, I'm very much liking the sound of this thing. What else have you got to tell me?

The brakes are Hyundai's most powerful yet, with 400mm front discs grappled by four-piston monobloc callipers up front and 360mm rear items to help out. Even in its regenerative mode, the 5 N's retardation can offer up 0.6G of decelerative force, which is pretty potent. Then there's the looks, which we think are brilliant. The N sits 20mm lower than other Ioniq 5s, while it is also 50mm wider due to the fat tyres/tracks and 80mm longer, courtesy of a sublime-looking rear diffuser. Much of the bottom of the car is rendered in contrast black, which gives it a really mean appearance, but those areas are also picked out by a Luminous Orange highlight line. The wheels are 21-inch forged aluminium doozies, wrapped in 275/35 Pirelli P-Zero rubber, while six body colours and four different finish types can be combined in such a way as to make nine varied exterior appearances for the 5 N.

And inside, deeply sculpted bucket seats in leather and Alcantara team up to an N-specific steering wheel festooned with lots of exciting-looking buttons, while the infotainment/instrument cluster system is upgraded with displays specific to the high-performance Hyundai's nature. It also gains the latest CCnC navigation system, with faster processing speeds.

Can you just talk about the battery pack and range, please?

We can give you details on the former. It's an 84kWh item here, which is bigger than the 77kWh unit on the next most-powerful model down the Ioniq 5's line-up, the 325hp/605Nm dual-motor Long Range AWD. So while its electrically juicier motors will sup up the battery's reserves quicker, we'd expect the 5 N to be able to still get near a 300-mile official WLTP range - we're having to guess here as it's one of the few numbers Hyundai hasn't talked about with this car yet.

Charging times, meanwhile, are broadly analogous to the other Ioniq 5s. You can get from 10-80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes on the N's maximum 350kW DC connection, although on a more commonplace 50kW charger you'll be looking at around an hour and ten minutes. Home charging would be seven hours 35 minutes on a three-phase 11kW AC unit, or 11.5 hours for a more typical 7.4kWh single-phase set-up.

And as we say, the price for all this is £65,000. Hyundai, as is typical of this Korean manufacturer, is generous almost to a fault with the Ioniq 5 N's specification. Everything bolted into it is essentially standard-fit, as the only things you can pay for are metallic/pearl/gloss finishes for the paint (£665), a matte paintjob (£885), or a Vision Roof panoramic affair (£1,250). All Ioniq 5 N models come with the company's traditional five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, an eight-year/100,000-mile level of cover on the battery, plus five years' worth of annual vehicular health checks, three years of MapCare navigation updates, and a roadside assistance package as standard. So, are you absolutely sure you still want that Audi RS 3 Sportback any more?

Matt Robinson - 27 Oct 2023

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N UK price. Image by Hyundai.      - Hyundai road tests
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