New Hyundai Ioniq 5 N 2023 review: a stunning electric performance car

The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 N sets the benchmark for driver focused electric performance cars

  • 4.5 out of 5

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    Allow us to elaborate. That N Sound+ system works in conjunction with Hyundai’s new N e-shift setup, which was developed by the same team responsible for the eight-speed DCT gearbox available in the petrol-powered i30 N. But instead of just pumping engine and shift sounds into the cabin, it simulates real gear changes with a physical jolt felt through the car’s chassis, and it even rev-matches on downshifts. You can use the steering wheel paddles to initiate the equivalent of engine braking, or change up early to mimic lower revs. It even adjusts the torque available in each gear to give a turbo lag-like sensation.

    If this all sounds like a bit of a novelty, we’d encourage you to sample it on a circuit. Within minutes we’d almost forgotten we were driving an electric car – shifting down into corners before hammering home lightning-fast changes on the exit. This, mated to the new N-Pedal regenerative braking setup, makes for a surprisingly formidable track car. The 5 N will also allow simultaneous operation of the accelerator and brake pedals – not normally possible in an EV.

    Biermann said his team of engineers were faced with the challenge of making “a 2.2-tonne elephant dance” – but the results are astonishing. The steering is razor sharp and beautifully weighted, and those aforementioned brakes offer loads of feel when you’re not using the intuitive regen modes.

    Furthermore, this is a car that, thanks to its various settings, can be dialled from front to rear-wheel drive (N Torque Distribution) in an instant. Do so, and the car will happily swing its tail out in a steady and controllable manner – even without initiating the N Drift Optimizer. Tired of these countless N-branded functions yet? Well, there’s more…

    While it’s of little use outside of the occasional illicit traffic-light drag race, the Ioniq 5 also gets N Launch Control, allowing it to rocket from 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds. This, synchronised with N Grin Boost (yes, really) and N Race, unlocks the car’s full potential for short track sessions.

    Track time is something Biermann thinks is incredibly important to N customers and an event he says is enabled by the Ioniq 5 N’s 800-volt architecture, which it shares with the standard car. It allows for improved battery conditioning and reliable recharge times; in normal driving Hyundai estimates a 280-mile range, and a top-up to 80 per cent full in just 18 minutes. The fastest 5 also features an endurance mode which dials things back ever so slightly to eke out extra laps.

    Our one concern, which is of little consequence on track but could prove tiresome on UK roads, is the ride. Bosses insist this is the most comfortable N yet, but even in its slackest settings there’s a definite firm edge to the car. This could be considered a necessary trade-off for the tight body control, but rivals manage to better blend sharp handling with a more fluid, softer feel for daily driving.

    Otherwise, though, the Ioniq 5 N is perfectly set up for the more mundane stuff. There’s loads of space in the back seats and boot, and while up front you get a more cocooned, driver-focused ambience than in the standard car, all the tech you expect is present and correct. That means the same dual-screen layout and responsive infotainment system, plus shortcut buttons for the media controls and a touch-sensitive panel beneath allowing access to the heating and ventilation.

    Quality, by and large, is very good, but perhaps more befitting of the normal Ioniq’s £45-50k price than the N’s £65,000 starting figure. That said, there’s some Alcantara on the steering wheel and the sculpted bucket seats are not only supportive, but comfortable too. Customers are unlikely to feel short-changed, but it’s some way off a Taycan or even an i4 for perceived quality.

    And while that price might appear rather lofty for a Korean hatchback, the kit list is strong. In addition to all those cheesy-sounding N goodies, every car comes with 21-inch wheels, LED lights front and rear, heated and ventilated seats, twin 12.3-inch screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a head-up display. There’s also a heat pump to help protect range in the colder months, as well as a long list of active and passive safety features. The only option, apart from paint, is a single-piece panoramic roof for £1,250.

    Model: Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
    Price: £65,000
    Powertrain: 84kWh battery, 2x e-motors
    Power/torque: 641bhp/740Nm
    Transmission: Single-speed auto, four-wheel drive
    0-62mph: 3.4 seconds
    Top speed: 162mph
    Range: 280 miles
    Charging: 240kW, 10-80% in 18mins
    Dimensions (L/W/H): 4,715/1,940/1,585mm
    On sale: Now

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