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The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.Courtesy of manufacturer

With instant torque and increased horsepower, most electric vehicles may seem like performance cars when you first step on the accelerator. But while they are fast in a straight line, the added weight from the batteries reduces the driving dynamics. To remedy that, car companies are injecting heart-pounding, driving excitement into performance trims of some EVs that for the most part handle in a similar manner.

Following in the footsteps of the Tesla Model Y Performance, the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, and the Kia EV6 GT, Hyundai is the latest automaker to jump on the electric performance bandwagon in introducing the all-new Ioniq 5 N at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England on Thursday. It’s the company’s first high-performance N, all-electric vehicle.

“Until now electrification has transformed our cars, but not our hearts. Ioniq 5 N electrifies our driving passion like never before,” said Till Wartenberg, vice-president and head of N brand and motorsport at Hyundai Motor Co. during an online global preview of the vehicle ahead of its world premiere.

“There’s a lot of EVs at this moment that can go very fast in a straight line, but who lack the enjoyment of driving and the interaction between the car, the road and the driver. That was our main goal to put our N DNA into electrification. It’s the same DNA we have in our combustion engine vehicles.”

The Ioniq 5 N combines the standard model’s dedicated electrified-global modular platform with N’s motorsports technologies to achieve what Wartenberg calls the three pillars of the brand’s N performance: corner rascal, racetrack capability and everyday sports car.

While not all North American details and figures, such as range, are finalized yet, the Ioniq 5 N will have a front and rear dual-motor all-wheel-drive configuration and a new 84 kilowatt-hour battery – the largest capacity battery ever in an electric Hyundai. Power output is the equivalent of about 600 horsepower, with a maximum torque of about 545 lb-ft.

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The vehicle has a 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment display.Courtesy of manufacturer

Hyundai’s overboost system, dubbed N Grin Boost, provides an instant thrust by increasing power output and torque for ten seconds. The result is about 640 horsepower, about 570 lb-ft of torque, a sprint to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 260 kilometres per hour.

To improve track performance, the Ioniq 5 N has regenerative braking, drift optimizer, launch control and an enhanced battery thermal management system to control the heat during acceleration and endurance. The battery preconditioning function helps stabilize battery temperature before driving. Drag mode sets the battery temperature between 30 to 40 degrees Celsius where it performs best for drag racing and short bursts of full power. Track mode sets the batteries to the lowest possible temperature, between 20 to 30 degrees, for driving longer stints and more laps. The track state of charge automatically calculates battery consumption per lap.

Another cool feature is the N Active Sound + system – it’s a fancy name for the added acoustics designed to stimulate the senses. “We are using sound as a function of feedback element for high-performance driving. The result is a more precise and interactive driving experience that feels closer to [gas-powered cars] than EVs,” said Wartenberg. Three different sound choices are available, depending on the driver’s input.

“EVs typically have a faster response than supercars, but without sound it makes it even more difficult to judge how much power is being used. Instead, we are using sound that intuitively communicates the power of the motors. Sound corresponds directly with the motor torque output and is delivered via eight speakers inside and two speakers outside,” said Tyrone Johnson, the director of vehicle development at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center.

Visually, this is no ordinary Ioniq 5 – this is a hotter hatch with racing cues covering its body. It’s two centimetres lower, eight longer and five wider than the standard Ioniq 5. The vehicle is heavier, too, but officials won’t disclose by how much. Weight is added from its larger 21-inch forged aluminum wheels and tires, aerodynamic pieces and upgraded suspension and brakes.

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N logos and a new checker flag theme appear throughout the cabin on the steering wheel, seats, door scuff panels, metal pedals and footrest.Courtesy of manufacturer

The redesigned front end is more aerodynamic with a functional mesh, an air curtain and three-front active air flaps for extra brake cooling. The rear has a massive spoiler, a diffuser and an air outlet to improve airflow. An N-exclusive accent line painted “luminous orange matte” wraps around the bottom of the hatchback from front to rear for a cohesive look. Ten colours are available including soultronic orange pearl and performance blue, in matte and gloss finishes.

The interior has a modern and sporty feel, covered mainly in black and dark grey tones, with a 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment display. The racing bucket seats have reinforced bolsters and a lower seating position – they’re two centimetres lower than the standard Ioniq 5. N logos and a new checker flag theme appear throughout the cabin on the steering wheel, seats, door scuff panels, metal pedals and footrest. Like the regular N, it uses eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials like sugar-cane yarn for the interior fabrics, recycled alcantera on the seat covers and recycled tire pigment paint.

The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is expected to arrive in Canadian dealerships in the spring of 2024. Prices aren’t available, yet.

Tech specs

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

  • Price: To be announced
  • Motors/battery size: dual electric motors / 84 kilowatt-hours
  • Horsepower/torque: About 600 (641 with boost mode) / About 545 lb-ft (567 with boost mode)
  • Drive: All-wheel drive
  • Range: to be announced
  • Alternatives: Tesla Model Y Performance, Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, Kia EV6 GT, Polestar 2 Performance

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