South Korean auto giant Hyundai has been testing its first all-electric N car, the Ioniq 5 N, at the Nürburgring Nordschleife to ensure the vehicle embodies the three pillars of N performance: Corner Racal, Racetrack Capability, and Everyday Sportscar. News of Hyundai at the Nürburgring makes us wonder how the retro-flavored Hyundai Ioniq 5 N would fare as a track weapon, given its size and heft.
Hyundai’s N division has garnered stellar reviews for unleashing high-performance and race-ready variants of the Veloster, Elantra, and the quirky Kona crossover. But for the Ioniq 5 N, Hyundai returned to the Nürburgring proving grounds to develop, validate, and test its newest technology explicitly designed for its first-ever electric N car.
“The Nürburgring is where every N model is honed to the Nth degree, so our first high-performance, all-electric N model must also prove itself here,” said Till Wartenberg, Vice President and Head of N Brand & Motorsport at Hyundai Motor Company. “Ioniq 5 N just completed its 10,000 km durability test on the Nordschleife, an important milestone proving the vehicle’s high endurance and racetrack capability.”
Of course, we expect nothing less from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, so an extra dose of everything could be in the cards: bigger motors, big wheels, wider tires, wider tracks, beefier brakes, and an enormous battery. Speaking of the brakes, the Ioniq 5 N has the most oversized brakes fitted to a production Hyundai combined with regenerative braking from the electric motors to deliver potent stopping power.
Our fearless forecast is no less than 600 horsepower, zero to 60 mph in about four seconds and a 155 mph top speed. And even though EVs are relatively fantastic in a straight line, N vehicles are track weapons to the core. You could count on the Hyundai N division to merge those qualities for its maiden performance EV.
Enhanced Battery Endurance
Hyundai took the most substantial merits of its hardware and software team to create an entirely new battery cooling system for the Ioniq 5 N. The package includes a bespoke radiator for the battery, an enhanced motor oil cooler, and innovative heat management software called N Battery Preconditioning and N Race.
The former pre-sets the most efficient battery temperature and has two modes: Drag and Track. In Drag mode, the system optimizes the temperature to unleash maximum power. But in Track mode, the system adjusts to the lowest possible battery temperature for better track longevity. Likewise, N Race also has two settings: Endurance and Sprint. The latter unleashes more power, while the former maximizes range while on the racetrack.
N e-shift Gearbox
The most exciting aspect of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is its gearbox. It has what the N division calls an N e-shift transmission with eight simulated gears and paddle shifters – all while having a single-speed transmission like most EVs. The technology enables it to shift gears like a gasoline-powered car, allowing it to behave like a conventional automobile but with all the quirks of an EV (silent operation and instant bursts of torque).
Virtual Driving Sounds
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N’s fancy gearbox bodes well with the car’s N Active Sound feature. It consists of eight internal and two external speakers with three audio themes: Ignition, Evolution, and Supersonic. Hyundai claims the Ignition setting simulates the sound of gas-powered N cars with the high-strung 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Meanwhile, switching to the Evolution setting mimics the sound of the RN22e and the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept cars.
Turning on the Supersonic feature unleashes the sound of a fighter jet to “give drivers the sensation of a fighter pilot.” Virtual sounds in an EV may sound gimmicky, but Hyundai might be onto something here, especially when combined with the bespoke gearbox that simulates the “jolt” feeling between each virtual gearshift.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 N: Mark Your Calendars
Hyundai promises to reveal the horsepower, torque, performance numbers, and other cool features of the Ioniq 5 N when the vehicle officially debuts at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 13th, 2023. From the looks of it, Hyundai has developed solutions to make EVs more engaging to drive while behaving similarly to their ICE counterparts. Will the Ioniq 5 N establish new norms in the EV landscape? We won’t have to wait long to find out.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.