Things are moving fast. It was just last month that Hyundai unveiled the all-new third-generation i20 supermini, and earlier this month the company let slip that a hot i20 N version is in the works. Fast forward less than three weeks and we’re seeing the upcoming B-segment hot hatch working out at the Nurburgring.

The test mule wearing Hyundai Europe’s usual GG German plates (its base Rüsselsheim is in the Groß-Gerau district) immediately looks like a hot hatch, without doubt. The stance, the minimal clearance between the big wheels and the arches – they point to N. Red brake calipers, too.

We can’t see much of the car’s covered front end, and the rear, but there are clues. Not present on the new i20 are the prominent rear wing, and twin tail pipes (no visible pipes in the regular i20). The only panel not covered with stickers is the roof – is that the “baby blue” colour of the N performance sub-brand?

The slip that we talked about above was a shadowy image that revealed cues such as a the signature Performance Blue paint and red accents, a deeper front air dam, side skirts and rear bumper, large turbine-style alloys and a sizeable tailgate spoiler. The leaked shot also had a black roof that’s an option on the standard i20.

Rumours of an i20 N have been swirling for a while, as Hyundai intents to milk its successful WRC rally exploits. Reports suggest that the car will be powered by a tuned version of the carmaker’s 1.6L turbo four-cylinder engine, sending around 200 hp to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST, you wait, the i30 N‘s little brother is coming.

By the way, we’ve been getting some questions regarding our spyshots, and this is an opportunity to clarify. Why do we say it’s from “our international/European spy photographers” and why is our watermark there when these “publicly available” images also appear on some websites, we get asked.

Well, “our car paparazzi” is because we pay a subscription fee to legally use these images, and the money (let’s just say it’s quite a hefty sum as forex is not on our side) goes direct to the people who put hard work into their craft, stalking cars in the sun and snow.

If you see these spyshots or variations of it elsewhere, it’s either from fellow subscribers (most reputable international websites do the right thing) or the publication had simply swiped the pics from another site. We know of some who do this – it’s akin to your friend paying for a meal, and you poking your fork into his plate, without paying of course. Some even go further to crop out or erase watermarks. This isn’t just not nice, it’s theft because it’s someone’s work, another person paid for it, and you’re using it without paying.

As for the watermarks, it’s a request from our suppliers, a proof of purchase, so to speak. The same applies for the local Bernama pics you see on this website, a subscription fee is involved. We hope that clarifies.


GALLERY: 2021 Hyundai i20