The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Has been a long time coming. The Korean automaker has made good headway with the Ioniq 5, just as Kia has with its sibling, the EV6. Now, it’s ready to reveal the performance model that aims to turn things up to eleven with blistering performance and lots of features that start with N. This is a first-look at the U.S. version of the Ioniq 5 N now that Hyundai has dished the details.
[Ed Note: This is basically the U.S. debut for the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which we’d heard about before. I admittedly forgot about that, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have assigned this blog. In any case: There is a bit of news: it’s coming to the U.S. in March of 2024. -DT].
Fundamentally, it’s all about power. The Ioniq 5 N boasts 641 horsepower with its “N Grin Boost” engaged, and no, we’re not making that up. They actually called the feature that; we can only assume until now, nobody had really thought about it or seen it written down. In any case, it delivers extra power for a ten-second interval to maximize acceleration when needed. The power is delivered by twin electric motors that spin at up to 21,000 RPM, delivering drive to all four wheels. Outside of Grin Boost, the Ioniq 5 N offers 601 hp, a healthy bump over the 320 horsepower of the regular AWD model.
Far from just being a hero at the stop-light drags, Hyundai has genuinely worked to make the Ioniq 5 N work in real performance contexts. It’s been designed specifically to manage heat buildup in track situations, with its improved battery and motor cooling intended to keep it running faster for longer.
In the case of the battery, this has been achieved by minimizing the distance between the cells and cooling channels, and using gap fillers with greater thermal conductivity. The battery and motor each get independent radiators to help shed as much heat as possible during track use. The Ioniq 5 N can also be set up to suit different situations. ‘Drag’ mode is used for when you want full power for a single short burst, while ‘Track’ mode is designed to maintain temperatures at a safe level over multiple laps on a circuit.
This is further expanded upon in the N Race feature. Drivers can choose ‘Endurance’ mode, which maximizes range by limiting power, helping slow the buildup of heat in the motors and battery. ‘Sprint’ mode, on the other hand, provides full power for short bursts, but you likely won’t get as many laps out before running out of juice.
As an EV, it’s able to take advantage of regenerative braking on track. The N Brake Regen regime promises up to 0.6 g of deceleration from regen alone, with hefty brakes on hand to help out when that’s not enough. The Ioniq 5 N gets 15.75 inch rotors up front with hefty four-piston calipers, with 14.2-inch rotors at the rear. Hyundai tuned the braking system to suit performance drivers and demanding environments like the Nürburgring. To that end, it’s set up to allow simultaneous application of the brake and accelerator pedals when using left-foot braking techniques in a track setting.
Handling being important, too, Hyundai equipped the sporting SUV with a specially-tuned power steering system. It’s got a quicker ratio for snappier turn-in, along with improved torque feedback for better feel. The chassis also gets 42 additional welding points over the basic Ioniq 5, along with 6.9 feet of additional structural adhesive—both contributing to improved rigidity. It’s a sign Hyundai is serious about what it’s doing; Honda famously took a similar tack when it built the legendary Integra Type-R.
Fans of the sideways will rejoice at the N Drift Optimizer. It’s intended to help the driver maintain a certain drift angle by having the computers intervene. It’s sure to make even the less-experienced look heroic in a slide if properly employed. Even more excitingly, Hyundai has created a “Torque Kick” feature for initiating drifts at will. By pulling both steering paddles, torque delivery at the rear can temporarily be cut. Release the paddles, and power at the back slams back on, helping initiate a slide just like a clutch kick in a manual, rear-wheel-drive car.
In a decision sure to ruffle some feathers, Hyundai has included the N e-Shift feature for those that wish to simulate the operation of an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission used in its conventionally-powered N cars. Paired with the N Active Sound + function, it’s designed to create a “more engaging and exciting sensory experience for the driver.” Various modes are available, with “Ignition” simulating a 4-cylinder ICE, and “Supersonic” inspired by twin-engine fighter jets. “Evolution” is an altogether different sound inspired by Hyundai’s RN22e prototype car, which varies in intensity with cornering G-forces. Hyundai developed the feature after noting the lack of engagement and feedback from many performance EVs on the market. Regardless, some will still shake their heads at the notion of fake sounds and fake gears.
Overall, Hyundai looks to be continuing its run of fine form when it comes to the N cars. The Ioniq 5 N may be the first EV entry, and it’s clear that the Korean automaker has seen fit to give it as much of the excitement and panache as is available in its combustion-engined range. If Hyundai has brought those same solid fundamentals to its first EV performance model, it should be a hoot to wheel one in anger.