Hyundai’s upcoming i30 N hot hatch is hitting the right notes, both literally and figuratively. It’s tuned for enthusiasts’ ears of course, being the first product from the Korean carmaker’s performance N brand. The production i30 N will surface later this year and will launch with a six-speed manual gearbox, exclusively.

Yup, a good ol’ row-it-yourself stick shift will be the only transmission choice, but there will be an dual-clutch automatic option that will be introduced around two years later, according to CarAdvice, quoting Hyundai Australia’s senior manager of product planning, Andrew Tuitahi.

“We’ve got an eight-speed wet dual-clutch gearbox being developed in-house as we speak. But we’re new to this segment, and if we’re going to deliver a genuine hot hatch, it has to be a manual first up,” he said.

“We’ve already had our dual-clutch transmission in the Kia Sorento diesel, as well as the 380 bhp version of the N car (RN30 Concept) with all-wheel drive, and the shifting is fast and smooth, as if it were an automatic ‘box,” Hyundai’s head of performance development and high performance vehicles, Albert Biermann said.

“The all-new transmission will also be used across Hyundai and Kia ranges, so we are highly motivated to get it right before going into mass production,” the former VP of engineering at BMW M added.

The 6MT that will go into the i30 N is from the standard hatchback, but with a few tweaks including shift mapping that has been modified to be more precise, and a heavy-duty clutch for better durability.

It’s not just the i30 N’s DCT that will be developed in-house, but the brakes too. Hyundai has elected to not use off-the-shelf performance brakes wholesale from specialist such as Brembo. “It’s not a sophisticated braking system you might expect from a high-performance hatch, rather, we’ve taken an off-the-shelf system and modified it for brake feel, while using different pads matched to the car’s character,” Biermann said.

“Everything is on-balance; brakes, gearbox, how it handles, the powertrain – it has to have some harmony,” the German added.

Hyundai recently released footage of the i30 N mule – which is expected to have around 260 hp from a 2.0 litre turbo engine – undergoing winter testing in Sweden (tested by Hyundai works WRC driver Thierry Neuville) and chassis/suspension road testing in the UK.

“We have to make sure that on these challenging UK roads, the driving performance is also comfortable enough for everyday driving,” Biermann said. This hints at a chassis that will be able to not just utilise power well, but stay compliant on poor surfaces, which Malaysia certainly “boasts”. This quality separates the good from the truly satisfying, and we’re really looking forward to Hyundai’s rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST.

SPYSHOTS: Hyundai i30 N