Hyundai has finally unveiled the i30 N, its first sports model under its performance-based N sub-brand line up. The new car – spied previously on trial at the Nurburgring – will be launched across Europe later this year, and it’s set to take the fight to rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST.

The front-wheel drive i30 N is powered by a 2.0 litre Theta T-GDI turbocharged engine, with two output tunes being available. In its standard form, the mill delivers 250 PS at 6,000 rpm and 353 Nm at 1,450 to 4,000 rpm, and performance numbers include a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds and a 250 km/h top speed.

A Performance Package bumps up the power on the twin-cam E-CVVT mill to 275 PS at 6,000 rpm, with torque remaining the same at 353 Nm. No change to the top speed, but the higher output tune gets the car to the century mark from standstill a shade faster at 6.1 seconds. Only one transmission for now, and that’s a six-speed manual ‘box with, as the automaker puts it, a strong clutch that’s built to last.

Based on the regulation i30, the N variant has been dressed up with aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers, a new rear spoiler finished in gloss black, twin tailpipes as well as black bezels for the headlamps.

The brand’s Cascading Grille features, marked with a N badge, and the front splitter gets a red accent to hike up the visual presence. The side sills are finished in black, while the outside mirror caps are of the gloss black variety.

The i30 N also gets an increased wheel arch, and in standard form sits on 18-inch wheels and 225/40 Michelin tyres, while the Performance Package version wears 19-inch units, wrapped with 235/35 Pirelli P-Zero high-performance Hyundai N tyres. The N sits lower than the regular five-door i30, four millimetres lower with the 18-inch wheels and eight millimetres lower with the 19-inchers

The 275 PS variant also gets red N brake calipers and larger 18-inch front, 17-inch rear brake discs (on the standard, 17-inch and 16-inch respectively) and adds on an electronic limited slip differential (E-LSD) and a variable exhaust valve system.

Plenty of performance-oriented gear on this one, the list including an electronic-controlled adjustable suspension, rev matching, launch control and lap timer, among others.

The car also features a rack-mounted motor driven power steering system (R-MDPS), with its electric steering assist system located in the steering gear – the automaker says the design offers a very high output and is designed even for track day driving with cup tires.

To increase driving fun for those who seek such thrills, the electronic stability control (ESC) can be switched off completely for maximum freedom, and the car also features an overboost function, which increases torque (+8%) and acceleration (+6-7%) on short bursts.

Five drive modes are available (Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom), offering a broad range of configurations, from comfort-oriented daily commuting to race track performance. Selectable via two dedicated buttons on the steering wheel, the different modes change the character of the car, adjusting the high-performance parameters of the engine, the dampers, ESC, E-LSD, sound, steering and rev matching.

Unique bits in the i30 N’s interior include dedicated high-performance sport seats, with lumbar support and extendable seat cushions. Available in a combination of suede and leather or cloth, the seats also come with a stamped N logo on the back rest. There’s also an N steering wheel, which gets blue stitching and an N logo, the last also being found on the gear shift knob.

Elsewhere, the car’s electronic instrument cluster provides display of a shift timing indicator, and the red zone of the variable LED rev-counter changes according to the driving performance and varies with the engine’s oil temperature.

Other novelties include a G-Force meter for live performance tracking – this, along with lap and acceleration times are displayed via the free-floating central screen, which comes as a five-inch unit as standard, with an eight-inch touchscreen available as an option. Mod cons include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support as well as Qi-standard wireless inductive charging pad for mobile phones.

Safety systems on the i30 N include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and European customers will get the benefit of Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF), which displays speed limits in real time.

Six exterior colours will be available for the car, including an exclusive Performance Blue paint, which was introduced with the start of the brand’s WRC engagement in 2014 and has represented the N line up ever since. The other shades are Clean Slate, Polar White, Micron Grey, Phantom Black and Engine Red.