What's the news?
Hyundai is expanding the i30 family - currently made up of the five-door hatchback and the stylish Tourer estate - with this, the new i30 Fastback. A bit like an Audi A5 or A7 Sportback in principle, the latest Hyundai features a lower, sportier body than the regular i30 and it also gains some hidden-from-view suspension updates. It'll be on sale at the start of 2018.
This isn't just a case of an i30 hatch with a heavily sloping roofline. The Fastback, 115mm longer than the existing i30 at 4,455mm all in, actually has a completely different body from front to back. For instance, the 'Cascading Grille' is lower in height at the nose, the roof is 25mm closer to the deck than on the five-door (the Fastback measures 1,425mm tall), it has a wider stance and it has that distinctive tapering roofline. But the Fastback still has as many entry points to the interior as the 'regular' i30, so it shouldn't lose out too much on practicality.
Finer details include an angled lower front splitter, a 'generously arched' rear spoiler, LED daytime running lamps and headlamps with a dark bezel, plus some tasty alloys. All in all, it's a striking-looking machine and one that's bound to interest potential buyers who perhaps feel the regular hatchback is a little conservative in the aesthetic department.
Hyundai will reveal more details about the interior in due course, but it is prepared to say the Fastback will benefit from all the active safety features as seen in the rest of the i30 range - items like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detector, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Speed Limit Information Function, High Beam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist System - and it will also enjoy full connectivity, courtesy of an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Wireless Qi smartphone charging will also be available. As yet we don't know how much of that will be standard for the Irish market.
From launch, the Fastback will use only Hyundai's petrol engines, as seen in the wider i30 family. Choose from a 1.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder motor with 120hp or a 1.4 T-GDI four-cylinder unit with 140hp. The former uses 5.0 litres/100km (56.5mpg) with 115g/km of CO2 and the latter 5.5 litres/100km (51.4mpg) with 125g/km, according to the official stats, but don't despair if you're a diesel fan - 110- and 136hp versions of a newly developed 1.6-litre turbodiesel will join soon after launch. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on both the petrol cars, but the 1.4 can additionally be specified with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). That DCT will be offered with both 1.6 diesels.
Hyundai's says that the Fastback actually has modified suspension compared to the hatchback. Having been tested and developed by engineers at Hyundai Motor Europe's Testing Centre at the Nürburgring, the Fastback's chassis is 5mm lower than the regular five-door's and it has suspension that is 15 per cent stiffer in its responses too. That means the coupe-like i30 should prove a sportier steer than the hatchback, which bodes well for any potential 'N' version...
Thomas A. Schmid, chief operating officer at Hyundai Motor Europe, said: "The i30 range represents the core of our Hyundai brand in Europe. The i30 Fastback is the newest in our range, bringing a unique new approach to this popular segment. The sophisticated design of this model incorporates the essence of our philosophy, making premium design accessible for everyone. The i30 Fastback is the first elegant five-door coupe to enter the compact segment, underlining our commitment to innovation and customer choice."