Hyundai's N performance brand is making the transition to electric power. The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is the first EV to wear the N badge, and it's the first N car with all-wheel drive. But despite those big firsts, the head of the N Brand says the EV is still aiming to "deliver N's signature fun driving experience."
The Ioniq 5 N starts with more power. Its twin electric motors are driven by a more efficient two-stage inverter and a new 84-kWh battery pack for a result of 601 hp. Toggle the "N Grin Boost" mode and you'll find even more power, up to 641 hp for up to 10 seconds.
Hyundai tested this car around the famous Nurburgring race track in Germany and has made changes to the Ioniq 5 to make sure it can handle the demands of extended high-performance driving. To start, the EV gets an enhanced thermal management system for the battery with more cooling area, a battery chiller, and a better cooler for the oil in the electric motors. Hyundai says the Ioniq 5 N has a higher resistance to heat-induced power loss than its competitors.
While the Ioniq 5 N can keep its cool during hot laps, the car can cool itself off before a run as well. A new Drag mode uses the battery pre-conditioning system to bring the pack's cells to the ideal temperature range for short bursts while a Track mode does the same for longer runs.
Even with all of that cooling capability, Hyundai has acknowledged that enough heat can build up in the system to lose power. So it has added two strategy modes to the N Race drive mode. "Endurance" limits peak power slightly for track use to slow down the temperature buildup while "Sprint" gives full energy for shorter bursts. Think of the latter as qualifying mode and the former as race pace with N Grin Boost for overtaking.
"N Brake Regen" is a regenerative braking strategy designed specifically for the N EV. It can brake the car at up to 0.6g, a figure Hyundai calls industry-leading. The car can even regen while ABS is engaged and is set up to work with the friction brakes to allow left-foot braking.
When regen braking isn't enough, the Ioniq 5 N has the most powerful braking system Hyundai has ever installed on a road car. The 400-mm front discs are clamped by four-piston fixed calipers and there are 360-mm discs in the rear. The hefty system is set up to be secondary to regen, coming in only when maximum braking force is needed.
Hyundai N brand boss Till Wartenberg spoke about the importance of feel in a performance car. The Ioniq 5 N will have two ways to deliver a sports car feel starting with "N e-shift." This is a control system that lets the driver simulate an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. It tweaks motor torque output to fake the lurch between gears to feel more like a gas engine.
"N Active Sound+" is meant to work with the fake shifting to add to the sound experience. Using eight internal and two external speakers, it projects one of three sound themes inside and out. The first is meant to simulate a 2.0L turbo-four from the gas N models and will even deliver pops and burbles along with the simulated shifts. Evolution is inspired by the RN22e concept, and Supersonic is meant to evoke twin-engine fighter jets.
The Ioniq 5 N is lower and wider than the standard 5 thanks to a lowered suspension and wheel arches pushed out to clear big tires. It has an N design front fascia, side skirts, and rear bumper, along with a new rear spoiler and the N-signature triangle third brake light.
Inside, the Ioniq 5 N gets a new steering wheel, bolstered seats, metal pedals, and "track driving" features like knee pads and shin supports. The N Grin Boost button is on the steering wheel and in the E.U. (sorry, Canadians) a dashboard message will suggest you press it whenever a curvy road sign is detected.
The 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is expected to hit Canadian showrooms in the spring of 2024.