Luxury Cars

The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N offers great performance without compromise

Hyundai’s N division is only a few years old and is barely out of diapers compared to venerable in-house performance sub-brands like Mercedes-Benz’s AMG or BMW’s M. But even then it defined itself as the creator of some real brands of loud, entertaining machines.

When you’re handed the keys to a little Hyundai in periwinkle blue and crimson orange, you know you’re in for a good time.

But historically that also meant having to contend with something that’s more strenuous to drive daily than a standard Hyundai. This is not the case with the latest N. this is that 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, a beefed-up version of Hyundai’s visually appealing, functionally compelling electric vehicle with twice the power and dozens of performance upgrades. The best part is that none of these upgrades have detracted from the main appeal of this machine.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N: Major upgrades inside and out

It starts with performance, and Hyundai engineers created it with much more than just an engine swap. The Ioniq 5 N offers 641 horsepower and 545 lb-ft of torque from two motors, one at the front and one at the rear. That’s twice as much power as the base Ioniq 5, a car that’s already fast and fun.

We’ve seen many electric vehicles that offer big power numbers and fast acceleration times that they can only achieve once or twice before needing some time to cool down. To ensure the Ioniq 5 N isn’t a one-lap wonder, Hyundai developed a new, larger battery (84 kWh versus 77 kWh for the regular car) and also added additional cooling.

Hyundai N technical advisor Albert Biermann Promised that the changes are enough to allow the Ioniq 5 N to complete two full laps of the Nürburgring at high speed in endurance mode before having to turn off the power to cope with the thermal load. That’s around 16 minutes and over 28 miles of hard running on one of the toughest tracks in the world, meaning your usual 20 minute track day session should be possible.

Bigger power means bigger brakes, and the Ioniq 5 N features chunky 4-piston monobloc calipers clamping 15.7-inch discs up front, while single-piston units clamp 14.2-inch calipers at the rear. More importantly, the car can slow down by up to 0.6g using recuperation alone, meaning these brakes should last through some serious track use.

Since more grip is also required, you’ll find Pirelli P Zero 275/35R21 tires on all four corners. With more grip comes greater flex in the chassis. That’s why Hyundai engineers added structural reinforcements to the front and rear subframes, as well as additional welding and bonding throughout. An electronically operated limited-slip differential on the rear axle helps curb power effectively, and the 5N features a new suspension that sits 0.8 inches lower and features larger, adaptive dampers at each corner, providing a wider range of performance between Offers comfort on the one hand and sport on the other.

All of this is bundled into a body that takes the odd angularity of the base model Ioniq 5 and adds some extra visual excitement in the form of a large front splitter, a rear wing and diffuser, and aggressively pronounced side skirts. If you climb into this thing, you’re guaranteed to get squished at least once the shinbone. (I certainly did.)

Hyundai hasn’t provided any numbers to define how these large wings and diffusers increased downforce at different speeds, perhaps suggesting that aesthetics are a priority here. Honestly, I can appreciate that. The car has a reasonable drag coefficient of 0.313, not far from the 0.28 cd of a base Ioniq 5, meaning N hasn’t completely destroyed the car’s aerodynamic finesse.

Overall it is a comprehensive upgrade package, much more than the power infusion that was given to it Kia EV6 GT. But the upgrades don’t stop there.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N: Hard-coded performance

The Ioniq 5 N’s biggest improvements may actually be found in the software. While the car offers the same dual 12.3-inch display setup as the base Ioniq 5, with two hip-connected panels making up both the instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment experience (including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ), the Ioniq 5 N offers many custom screens and options. Not only does this help differentiate this car, but it also offers owners who love details endless opportunities to customize the performance of their machines.

One of the most fun settings is a simple slider to adjust torque distribution. Do you want a front-wheel drive machine for some strange reason? Just drag the slider to the left. Craving a wild RWD burnout? Pull the dial the other way and order yourself a new set of Pirellis.

You’ll also find options for things like N-Pedal, a track-focused, high-regeneration mode that supposedly offers a permanent trail braking effect, in addition to all the usual customizable settings for things like damper stiffness and throttle sharpness.

But the most interesting options have to do with the Ioniq 5 N’s fake engine noises and fake gearbox. Yes, the Ioniq 5 N has an 8-speed DCT, or at least a virtual one, controlled via the paddles on the back of the steering wheel. When you activate this setting, the car not only sends one of three fake engine sounds into the interior, but optionally also sends them outside the car.

This isn’t just a trick for loud cars and coffee displays. The intention here is to give drivers more landmarks on the route than they would get in an otherwise quiet electric vehicle. It’s also said to provide that extra endorphin rush you get from running a highly stressed engine through its rev range. Strangely, it somehow works.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

Hyundai Ioniq 5: driving behavior, handling and dynamics

South Korea is one of the worst places in the world to drive a performance-oriented car like the Ioniq 5 N. Yes, it’s the birthplace of this machine, but with frustratingly low speed limits, incredibly heavy traffic and automatic speed cameras everywhere, it’s not a place for wild driving.

Still, these congested streets and highways were a good place to check that Hyundai hadn’t ruined the outstanding Ioniq 5 by putting the N on the back. Driven in Eco or Normal mode, the 5 N is almost as comfortable as a regular Ioniq. The ride quality is inevitably somewhat compromised by the large, low-profile tires, but it’s not too harsh or you’d hardly notice the difference.

In these modes the paddles behave like one normal Ioniq 5to switch the braking energy recovery from low to high. In the highest setting, the regeneration of the Ioniq 5 N ensures that the car comes to a standstill immediately. There is no loss of functionality on the highway either, as the Ioniq 5 N offers the latest version of Highway Drive Assist with active lane control, adaptive cruise control and even assisted lane changing.

But to get a feel for the Ioniq 5 N’s performance, I needed a closed course. Luckily we had one at the Korea International Circuit. Here the Ioniq 5 N was a surprising treat despite its mass. One thing Hyundai didn’t do was make the 5N lighter. In fact, it weighs more than a regular Ioniq 5, which tips the scales at just under 4,000 pounds in AWD trim. Hyundai hasn’t said exactly how heavy the N is, but you can clearly feel its weight on the track, especially in the tighter corners.

When I first got up to speed, the Ioniq 5 N just kept pushing through the corners. But instead of getting into final understeer, you turned the wheel a little further and gave it more gas so that the nose was pulled right around. Enabling N-Pedal mode for additional regeneration changed this character significantly, making the Ioniq 5 N feel surprisingly loose at the rear. The extra weight put on the nose through corners made a big difference.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

In this mode, I came out of one of the corners pretty sideways, requiring a big correction that put a bigger grin on my face.

As for the fake sounds of the dual clutch transmission and engine, I have to admit that I didn’t like any of the three synthetic sounds, but the presence of this sound helped me better judge my speed when cornering. The use of simulated gears also made the analysis of the new route a little easier and provided clues as to which gears could be reached in the different sections of the route.

I’ll need a lot more time to make a judgment on this as there are so many options to toggle and sliders to play around with. It would be great to spend more time trying out the torque distribution and also feel in more detail how N-Pedal mode affects the balance of the car.

I also need more time to confirm whether this car has the endurance for proper track day antics. My time in the Ioniq 5N was limited to seven, less than full-throttle laps on a halved Korea International Circuit, about a mile and a half per lap. At the end of this session I didn’t notice any loss of power from the car to get the temperatures under control, but it wasn’t what I would call maximum attack either.

Hyundai’s Biermann said the goal is to drive 20 minutes on the track, followed by 20 minutes on a fast charger at the track, followed by another 20-minute session with no loss of power or performance. That’s a big challenge for any electric vehicle, and it’ll take a longer day on the track to see how it handles that much stress. It feels powerful at the moment, but I’d like more evidence.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N: Wild performance at an unknown price

The Ioniq 5 N is notable because it offers the kind of engagement and fun that its periwinkle hue deserves, while still not giving up much of the comfort and practicality of one normal Ioniq 5. Extreme configurability allows you to quiet the engine, soften the suspension and soften the throttle response to create the smooth, quiet driving experience you want from an electric vehicle.

It’s a great and desirable package, but it could be expensive. Hyundai has not yet announced any prices. Given that the Ioniq 5 N has so much more specialized equipment than its hot rod sibling, the Kia EV6 GT, I have to imagine it will be priced well above this car’s starting price of around $63,000. How much higher remains to be seen.

– by Tim Stevens

Hyundai covered travel and lodging expenses for Motor Authority to bring you this first-hand report.

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