By : RACHNA TYAGI
Born in Namyang and honed at Nurburgring, Hyundai, has brought its N Line, to India, and now, you can now drive it in Nagpur or Nellore or Nandigram (Besides everywhere else in India) to your heart’s content. We recently got our hands on the i20 N Line and after some pedal to metal driving, felt that this would make for a great addition in the garages of all those who really love that touch of sportiness in their everyday cars. Read on to find out how Hyundai has given a whole new twist to the concept of ‘redlining.’
Hyundai’s Motorsport division has been busy at work ever since it started in 2012 and now, after introducing their N Line range in 40 countries, and with 11 models on offer, Hyundai is eyeing the Indian market so that driving enthusiasts can make the most of it. In India, the first N Line model that Hyundai has brought in is their immensely popular i20 which has quite a big fan following. Add motorsport DNA and WRC to the mix and it can get quite heady. More on that later but let’s start with what you get on the outside.
The i20 N Line gets the same body shape as the i20 which was introduced last November in India except that it gets a few other sporty touches that clearly distinguish it from the latter. The first distinguishing factor that will catch your eye is the gorgeous chequered flag inspired front grille (straight form the races), with the N Line badging neatly incorporated in it. Then come the diamond cut alloys which look really cool on the i20 N Line. However, it is the small dark grey hubcap held together with four lug nuts that will grab your attention thanks to the N Line badging that sits at its center and immediately gives the wheels a sporty appearance. We have always loved the crease lines on the bonnet of the i20 which give the car a very aerodynamic look and the i20 N Line is no different. In fact, the shark fin antennae as well as the roof spoiler further add to the dynamic look and performance of the car. There is also the twin tip exhaust that the i20 N Line boasts of which has a throaty exhaust note however, according to the engineers at Hyundai, this is a much toned-down version of what they first heard when it arrived in India. Overall, the i20 N Line gives the appearance of a very agile car, one that invites you to jump in and start exploring not just the inside but also what’s below the hood.
Hyundai has taken their fascination with ‘red’ to a whole new level. In fact, it wouldn’t be farfetched to say that they’ve gone a tad bit overboard with all the red inserts that they have embellished the i20 N Line with. While the exteriors get red brake calipers and red inserts on the front bumper and the side skirts, it is with the interiors that you’ll feel, the red treatment is more pronounced. From the red stitching and piping on the seats (The seats also sport the chequered flag design and the N logo) to the gear knob (Also boasts the N Line badging) to the steering to the air-con vents and the rocker buttons on the car’s panel, everything has been quite literally ‘red’-lined. Oh, and there is also red ambient lighting! But, on the other hand, Hyundai has made up for all the red by balancing it out with ample use of grey in terms of their roofliner and seats, both of which are made of excellent quality. It must be reiterated though that Hyundai’s liberal use of red is essentially to distinguish this new arrival with their other offering.
There is also no stone left unturned when it comes to providing the best of tech on the i20 N Line and the 10.25-inch HD infotainment and navigation system is a case in point. The display is super sharp and the touch screen is slick with a lot of information made available swiftly. The Hyundai BlueLink App also allows you to make the most of your car with 58 Connecetd Features. Besides there are 16 OTA map updates and a voice-enabled sunroof which will allow other passengers in the car to also enjoy the features in the car to the fullest. Not to mention the beautiful digital instrument cluster with MID that offers all info to drivers at a glance. Overall, the i20 N Line’s interior is a very good place to be in, especially if you’re behind the wheel.
We drove the i20 N Line with 1.0 (998cc) Turbo GDi that came with the 7-Speed DCT (There is also a 6-Speed iMT on offer) which puts out 120 PS of power @ 6000rpm and 172 Nm of torque @1500-4000 rpm, in Thunderbird Blue. Needless to say, we were quite impressed with both the performance of the car as well as its deep blue shade which doesn’t veer towards the oft seen purple hues – a very good thing in our books.
The i20 N Line is full of beans and this is evident from the minute you get behind the wheel. The three-spoke steering wheel is light and offers fantastic maneuverability. Whether you’re indulging in straight line driving or attacking corners at full speed, the i20 N Line definitely feels more planted and gives you more reassurance than other Hyundai cars have in the past which is a terrific thing because now, you can relax more while driving at higher speeds knowing fully well that you’re driving a car that offers much superior ride and handling thanks to its racing DNA. The gearshifts are smooth and the paddle shifts also do a great job in bringing the whole race track experience at your fingertips. The ride is a bit firm… in keeping with the race car feel that the carmakers have set out to provide but the car feels sure footed at all times. There also isn’t the slightest bit of hesitancy after receiving driver inputs and the i20 N Line always seems more than willing to take on any kind of road surfaces which is sheer joy for any driving enthusiast. You will enjoy slamming the brakes and accelerating, indulging in some half clutch driving, just like we did, using the opportunity to get a feel of the shiny new sporty metal pedals and it must be said that they offer excellent grip. Also, the fact that all four wheels get disc brakes, further ensures that stopping times are great. Definitely a car that you want to drive to some of the most picturesque locations in because deep down you know that it is a poser.
With all four disc-brakes, six airbags, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), the i20 N Line has a lot going for it. Not to mention best-in-segment fuel efficiency figures of 20.25 kmpl and 20 kmpl for the 7-Speed DCT and the 6-Speed iMT respectively (As claimed by the company); it does make a very strong case for itself. Then there is also their WONDER warranty option of 5 years/40,000 kms, 3 years free roadside assistance, and 3-year Blue Link Subscription, all of which make the i20 N Line an incredibly attractive package. However, we believe that what will tilt the scales in its favour, for many, will be its price tag which starts at INR 9.84 lakh and goes upto 11.91 lakh which truly is very competitive pricing. With the car maker offering the N Line in four monotone options and two dual tone options, it is just going to be a matter of time before driving enthusiasts start making a beeline for the i20 N Line.