• Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.
Seoul, South Korea – These days, it’s not often we can say a car is “revolutionary”. Changes are generally “evolutionary”. Even all-new cars usually carry a lot of the past with them. Think of the Nissan Z, or the new Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Here, though, after driving the performance N – not N-Line, but all-out N – version of the award-winning Ioniq 5 EV in South Korea, I am going to go there. Here’s why.
Let’s start here. There’s little question the N is, indeed, an Ioniq 5. You have the digital origami-like cuts across the doors, you have the pixel-style taillamps and you have the glowering front end. But beyond that, we’re on another plane.
The wheels are all new and measure a big 21 inches, unheard of on a Hyundai outside the Palisade (though the new-generation Santa Fe gets them as well), and they’re wrapped around fat 275-section rubber. They’re also functional in that they have a removable panel that adds to the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle.
The splitter sprouting from underneath the rear bumper is touring-car large, the car sits lower than the regular 5, and the N-spec Performance Blue colour shade is a great look. Although, it’s a pity we only get the matte version as there’s a slick metallic version in other markets.
Other colours such as Soultronic Orange Pearl and even silver or black all suit the car well.
If the Ioniq 5 wasn’t already turning heads – which it does -- you can bet this one will – even more so.
There’s a lot going on here as well, and you can see it right away.
First, there are the specialized sport front seats with high side bolsters that are both manual adjust and don’t have seat heating or cooling. That’s often the case with sports seats as those kind of mechanisms tend to add weight. And in the Ioniq 5 N – which weighs in at around two tonnes – saving weight wherever possible was crucial.
That’s why the 5’s sliding console is gone, switched out for a lighter fixed one. The fact it’s fixed is better for chassis fidelity as well, plus it helps the cockpit feel more cosseting and race car-like. I do lament the loss of the frunk, another victim of the drive to tighten things up.
While the new seats do feature taller side bolsters, they don’t squeeze the hips and lower ribs and remain comfortable enough for longer drives.
Otherwise, we find the 5’s the upright dash with dual digital displays for the gauge cluster and infotainment. The window and climate controls are the same, the d-shaped door pulls remain and the back seat – well the whole interior, really – is a roomy place to sit that belies the car’s exterior hatchback appearance.
For all the similarities with the regular 5, what actually appears on the gauge and infotainment displays is quite different.
For one, the N gets Hyundai’s latest infotainment system which is faster than previous, has better graphics and provides a more usable interface. There’s also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless charging and new digital rearview mirror. It’s a more formidable system, which is good because Hyundai was really starting to get left behind in that department.
Then there’s the steering wheel. Why discuss that in the “tech” section? Well, just look at the thing! If that isn’t one of the best honest-to-God recreations of the ultra-techy steering wheels seen in various Ferrari models, I don’t know what is.
There are of course your standard buttons for cruise control, trip computer, volume and so forth and then there are four unique buttons: two marked “N”, one marked “NGB” and one marked “Drive Mode”. Essentially, each one of these pretty drastically changes how the Ioniq 5 N drives. The two N buttons call up the most hardcore “N” drive mode as well as your individual N Mode – you can tweak the exhaust note, the suspension, steering, motor, ESC, e-LSD and the HUD to your liking. Some have two settings, one has four, most have three.
It’s all insanely customizable – which is great – but the learning curve is a steep one and I suspect Hyundai’s dealer network is going to need a priming on this.
The drive mode button, meanwhile, cycles between the more pedestrian drive modes such as Normal and Eco, while the NGB button stands for – I can see Hyundai N people already nodding their approval here – “N Grin Boost”. So, yeah. Lots going on.
This is where the real meaning of this “revolution” becomes clear. Indeed, and so it should, because this 5 N is likely going to cost around $80,000 CAD (no official pricing has been announced at the time of writing). Simply adding some fancy paint, aero and wheels doesn’t justify such a price leap.
Happily, Hyundai has done a whole lot more than that.
As soon as you start it up, turn on the “exhaust note” - really just a digitized soundscape that does a bang-up job of sounding like an Elantra N, backfires and all, both inside and out thanks to two external speakers. At that point you already know something very different is happening.
Then you set off and the exhaust actually begins to crescendo. And traditionally, what do we do when that happens? We either back off the throttle or we change up, of course! Which, in the Ioniq 5 N, you can. Those paddles that in the 5 are used only to change brake regeneration level? Here you can also “shift gears”. There’s even a tachometer! Left to change up, right to change down and Hyundai even tuned the throttle response to make it feel like you’ve actually changed down and are using engine braking.
It’s phenomenal. Both my drive partner – an experienced chap who used to race cars and teach others how to do so – and I said it felt like we were driving a gas-powered Volkswagen Golf R, the unofficial gold standard when it comes to modern performance hatchbacks.
Yes, this is a fully electric vehicle that successfully feels like a gas-powered performance hatch.
It gets better. The Ioniq 5 N makes waaaay more power than that gas-powered Golf does. At play is a total output of 600 hp (641 if you’ve pressed the NGB button) and 568 lb-ft of torque thanks to two EV motors and larger battery. With no actual transmission, that power gets down through all four wheels lickety-split, enough for a 0-100 km/h sprint of about 3.5 seconds. It’s absolutely gobsmacking and almost unbelievable – until you drive it.
Speaking of unbelievable, that powertrain also helps the handling by using everyone’s favourite EV driving mechanic – regenerative braking, called N Pedal here. Hyundai has developed the Ioniq 5 N’s regen system so that even when on track, you can spend your time driving with just a single pedal, as releasing the throttle actively slows the car. Not only that, it forces more weight over the front wheels as the vehicle slows, which provides increased traction.
Since it's the computers doing it, it’s on them to meter out just how much of a reduction occurs, theoretically achieving the best possible balance. While I still preferred to use the actual brakes during my track time – it is, after all, the most powerful braking system Hyundai’s ever delivered – more time spent with the N Pedal would probably reveal more of its qualities.
You’ll never fully disguise all that weight, of course. You will experience body roll through fast turns, likely more than you’d expect compared to just how fast it feels otherwise.
But, if you want to use that weight to your advantage yet again, there’s even a drift mode that includes the ability to use the paddles as a virtual clutch, so you can virtually “clutch kick” all that weight into a drift. It’s a method that takes some getting used to; pull both paddles, apply throttle until the trip computer tells you that you’re at about 50-percent throttle, let them go and wheeee! Drift. Not the easiest throttle to modulate once you’re there, but still, you can do it, and that’s all that matters.
Some of your questions about the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
What is the range of the Ioniq 5 N?
Official figures have not yet been released, but expect somewhere in the 450 km range. There is no extended-range single-motor variant at this juncture.
How long does it take to charge the Ioniq 5 N?
The Ioniq 5 N can be charged at speeds of up to 238 kW, which will get you from 10 to 80-percent charge in 18 minutes, according to Hyundai.
The final word
As fun as it was to spend some time on the track (and skidpad), though, it has to be said that the Ioniq 5 N isn’t really suited for that. Yes, it has the power and there are the upgraded brakes and tires and suspension and all that but as you continue to lap, you start to see the effect the weight has on performance. You also see your range drop off a cliff. Let’s be honest: short of a one-make race series (which Hyundai says could very well be on the horizon) no one’s really going to track their Ioniq 5 N.
Indeed, we were there so Hyundai could drive the point home that this is an EV that drives unlike any other EV we’ve seen, including stuff like the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT. And to that end, they succeeded. In fact, they succeeded even before that because you don’t need the track; you know it right away.
In one fell swoop, Hyundai has brought hope to everyone lamenting the decline of ICE performance cars and shown just what can be done when smart heads get put together. It’s incredible and it’s the dawn of a new age.
The revolution is upon us.
Original content from auto123.]]> 2023-11-28T23:10:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd