2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5N: Charging Away From the Competition

Last year, the handsome Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV successfully conquered our SUV of the Year contest, so knowing that more impressive Ioniq 5 N performance model was right around the corner has been driving us crazy. Last month, we had a chance to drive a prototype of the Ioniq 5 N that confirmed our suspicions that the Korean automaker’s first performance EV would be something truly special. Now that the specs are confirmed, here’s what Hyundai’s come up with: the Ioniq 5 N with 600 hp and a huge suite of gizmos and enhancements to make it go very, very fast, and do it repeatably and reliably.

Hyundai’s N performance division is still relatively young, but it appears to have a clear vision focused around three key corporate pillars for its vehicles: Corner Rascal, Racetrack Capability, and Everyday Sports Car. The latter two focuses are self-explanatory, as Hyundai wants its performance models to be fit for the racetrack as well as everyday road use. The third pillar, Corner Rascal, is what’s supposed to make sure the cars are fun to drive, tuning the handling to be more engaging for the driver.

The new Ioniq 5 N EV hatchback is the first mass-production, high-performance EV from Hyundai, and the first N car with all-electric all-wheel drive. It’s the third Hyundai model to be based on the E-GMP platform following the standard Ioniq 5 and its sedan sibling, the Ioniq 6. Jaehoon Chang, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Company, thinks the new Ioniq 5 N is a big deal for the brand: “Key developments around this vehicle will further strengthen the competitiveness of all Hyundai models going forward. This is why N brand exists. “From the outside, the Ioniq 5 N’s upgrades appear to be fairly conservative, which is more a testament to how good the base SUV’s setup is for aerodynamics and handling. The N is lower, wider, and gets larger lightweight, forged 21-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero 275/35R21 tires.

Brake cooling is enhanced with a new N Mask graphic front fascia with functional mesh, a new air curtain, and three active front air flaps. The new bumper designs increase the overall length by just over 3 inches. There’s a new wing-type rear spoiler with an integrated brake light, a new rear diffuser, and a new air outlet to optimise airflow.

Dark contrasting exterior elements are now highlighted with a new N accent colour: Luminous Orange Matte.

The Ioniq 5 N gets a suite of sustainable materials inside, including a recycled paper door garnish, sugarcane-based PET and TPO, recycled tire pigment, recycled Alcantara cloth, and eco-processed leather. Two-tone racing bucket seats in either cloth and leather or eco- Alcantara and leather are available, with a lowered seating position and reinforced bolsters. There’s a steering wheel with four dedicated drive mode buttons, including the N Grin Boost button that increases power output for 10 seconds, as well as N-unique knee pads and shin supports, and a sliding armrest.

The new Ioniq 5 N also benefits from a suite of chassis enhancements, including 42 additional welding points and nearly seven feet of additional structural adhesive to improve body rigidity. More reinforcement has been added to the motor and battery mounts and front and rear subframes for lateral rigidity. The front and rear now gets World Rally Championship-inspired Integrated Drive Axles (IDA, which integrate the axle and the wheel hub into a single assembly) which improve motor torque and reduce unsprung mass. The 5 N also gets a specific steering rack with a quicker ratio to enhance response and road feedback.

Additionally, the spritely EV benefits from a host of mostly self-explanatory branded systems to help tailor the driving experience: N Battery Preconditioning, N Race, N Pedal, N Brake Regen, N Drift Optimizer, N Torque Distribution, N Launch Control, N Grin Boost, N Active Sound +, N e-shift, N Road Sense and Track SOC. There’s also a dedicated cooling system that includes a increased cooling area, an enhanced motor cooler, improved battery chiller, and more efficient packaging.

N Battery Preconditioning optimizes the vehicle’s battery cells to the most power-efficient temperature depending on the task at hand. An available “Drag” mode conditions the battery for short bursts at full power; “Track” mode optimizes cells to maintain lower temperatures for repeated laps. Similarly, the N Race system can limit peak power for a slower rise in temperature in its “Endurance” mode, or prioritize peak power with less regard for temperature in “Sprint” mode.

As we found out in our prototype drive, the goal is for an Ioniq 5 N owner to go to any typical high-performance driving experience (HPDE) track day and run a full session without losing power.

The N Drift Optimizer is capable of simulating a clutch kick to get the car sideways, and can help maintain the drift angle based on the inputs of the driver. The N Torque Distribution offers 11 levels of adjustment to the fully variable front and rear torque applications via the e-motors. N Launch Control does what it says on the tin, helping the car find grip and accelerate as quickly as possible from a stand-still. The N Active Sound+ system combines combustion-like noises, engine and exhaust notes and crackles, with futuristic EV sounds—drivers can pick from several sound profiles. The intriguing N e-shift system simulates the gearshifts of the N division’s combustion-powered eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) vehicles with the EV powertrain. N Road Sense can automatically recommend when to use the sportier features and settings, and Track SOC helps drivers monitor the battery and vehicle during intense driving sessions.

N Pedal simulates braking for cornering with an aggressive turn-in weight transfer utilising the available regenerative braking system on the vehicle, and N Brake Regen can set the intensity of the “braking” force. The Ioniq 5 N gets 400-mm, four-piston discs in the front and 360-mm discs in the rear, with a lighter metallurgy and hybrid construction. The regen system offers up to 0.6 G of decelerative force before the brake pads are needed.

Hyundai notes that the total output of its two e-motors is 600 horsepower and 545 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds, and fed power by an 84-kWh battery. Top speed is set to 160 mph, and there’s no range estimate just yet. The standard Ioniq 5 AWD is capable of up to around 260 miles of EPA-estimated range from its 77.4-kWh battery and produces 320 hp and 446 lb-ft.

Based on what we know from our prototype drive just a couple of months ago, the Ioniq 5 N is due for its final tuning this fall, and then it will go on sale in Korea before it finally gets to the U.S. market in the first half of next year.

This should hit Africa as well within the next year range, but it will be interesting, people’s reaction to this… guess we are about to find out.