Hyundai appears to be working on a high performance version of the second-generation i20 hatch, and seen here is a prototype mule of the said model. Early details are promising – it may get a 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbocharged GDI engine that’s found in the Tucson, but fettled to the tune of 200 hp. If so, the i20 N will go right up against the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Reports suggest a possible introduction sometime next year, and that the modifications will be similar to the i30 N. That includes stiffening the chassis, upgraded suspension, bigger brakes, larger intakes, and more functional aerodynamic parts. Like the larger hatch, the i20 N could also be available with three pedals and a six-speed stick shifter.

In terms of aesthetics, the unmasked prototype here reveals plenty. The front fascia is noticeably different, featuring a trapezoidal grille with mesh insert, a wide lower apron that wraps around the fog lamps, as well as huge 17-inch wheels shod with low profile rubbers.

Behind, though, is where things get interesting. Unlike the existing i20, this spy mule features a revised rump that closely resembles the W177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The tailgate gets a prominent lid, the badge moved slightly upwards, below which is the new position for the registration plate. This tidies up the rear, and the appointment of a new bumper and redesigned tail light graphics complete the athletic appeal.

It’s not known if this prototype outfit will represent the actual production version, but expect running changes to be made, which may potentially include a nicer exhaust tip and a shark fin antenna. It’s worth noting that top i20 models do get projector headlights with LED DRLs, so expect those, along with an updated cabin, to be featured as well. We can’t wait!