A true Hyundai: zero appeal, zero error

Two years ago. I chug through South Holland in a Hyundai i30, the best good car in the Golf class. Sufficient power, enough space, equipped in line with the market. The chassis is the golden mean, neither too hard nor too soft. Decent price too. Zero appeal, zero error.

This is the car that Mr. Van Veen and Mrs. Van Veen-Bruintjes from Dry Cleaning Van Veen in Emmeloord – I suck them, but they exist – have ordered with my heartfelt approval. Their first mid-range car, after five Fords, which they never have anything to do with. With the five-year Unlimited Mileage Warranty, they have never had to waver. The Germans can still take a point there, says the gentleman. Because without pride one cannot get there in life.

Now I have the same car of the same brand with a little more. In the back there is still room for two growing children, in the trunk bags full of groceries. The dashboard is the same black mass with the same buttons in exactly the same place. The spoiler lip under the grille can be a false alarm, an action package. His metamorphosis points to something more serious. Here the head office of Omroep Max has been occupied by Radio 538. A glossy black spoiler runs over the rear window like a flared eyeliner. Under the rear bumper, two exhaust pipes babble a flatulent rattle. A circle of LED lights slides along the rev counter from 5,000 to 7,000 rpm, which indicate the maximum speed during the warm-up phase, extinguishing one by one; I used to have that in my BMW M3. The shiny rims: 19 inches. And indeed we do not find the awake three-cylinder of the Van Veentjes under the hood, but a two-liter turbo with 275 hp that will shock the ordinary Hyundai man, provided the boys with the leather jackets and hoods kept him, with the novelty of the tailgating Hyundai. .

This is the i30 2.0 T-GDI N2 Performance, the first real hot hatch of the brand. Parbleu, why would a Korean volume brand build a GTI-esque? They sell it at VW with 300 hp, an A-class AMG has 381. There you will find status with the right logo and the cool-headed gym style of the old Europe, while the N2 remains an escalated Major Renovation.

Meet Hyundai’s halo car. hello car is automotive terminology for the standard-bearer that shines prophetic light on the new paths the brand wants to take. He beckons to audiences that he has not yet reached due to the stigma of his name, but the sales figures matter less. They sow what they hope to reap in the long run: respect.

White ravens

Immediate success is always difficult with such cars. It is rare that an Asian sports car conquers its place in a market dominated by European top brands. The Mazda MX5, Honda S2000 or Subaru Impreza WRX are among the few white ravens whose qualities outweighed the bias against their humble origins. Very surprisingly, the i30 fits in brilliantly with that company.

Hyundai called in Albert Biermann, ex-BMW development chief, for the intricacies of the crack process. I may be making connections too indiscriminately, but I have the feeling that, gratefully benefiting from the sacred reverence for his curriculum, he was able to put in the car all the heart and soul that he could no longer get rid of with his former employer. The LEDs in the rev counter are not the only reference to older party BMWs. The meaty steering and the tight-shifting six-speed gearbox also indicate a nostalgic longing for the mechanical passion that killed BMW with eight-speed automatics and that often slightly too synthetic steering. Instead of such an electronic parking button, there is a normal handbrake. It drives raw but precise, aggressive and spontaneous. He is free from the notorious driving forces in the handlebars in this battle over-motorized howler buoys. The not innocuous combination of immense turbo pull and front-wheel drive, never like BMW’s, has not prevented Hyundai from building a car that is as flawless in its possession as that of the Van Veentjes in its neatness. So a true Hyundai; zero appeal, zero error. But unreservedly great. And, if desired, economical too; consumption on a long, quiet ride amounted to 1 in 14 after refueling, exactly the manufacturer’s specification.