Hyundai i20 N Line: Would you still want an SUV?

Hyundai i20 N Line front

Inspired by the company’s global N performance car range, the Hyundai i20 N Line is a supercar-looking car that is light on the pocket (relatively) and heavy on exhaust sound.

What is the ‘N’ in the i20 N Line?

N is the performance car division of Hyundai, representing the Namyang district in South Korea (birthplace of the N brand) and the Nürburgring racetrack in Germany (where Hyundai perfected the performance of N vehicles).

N is to Hyundai what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz, RS is to Audi, M to BMW, and R to Volkswagen.

Is the i20 N Line like the AMG?

Not even close. The range being offered in India is the N Line, not N. As an analogy, it’s like the AMG package offered on certain Mercedes-Benz cars, where AMG design elements are offered on regular cars, and customers pay slightly more for these elements.

Therefore, the N Line incorporates design and sporty elements from the N range, but not necessarily the supercar performance of the N range.

Is it exciting to drive?

It definitely is. Because the i20 N Line is light in weight and the turbocharged petrol engine is powerful (998cc; 120 PS power), it can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 10 seconds.

But someone might argue that even the regular i20 comes with the same turbocharged petrol engine, with similar acceleration times, so what’s the point in buying the i20 N Line?

That’s a fair point. But where the i20 N Line stands out is the way it makes the i20 look cool, and fast, and sporty (its exhaust note is louder than the regular i20). It has most design elements from the N range (for a person to show off), and even performance is somewhat better than the i20 with the turbocharged petrol engine (for example, the N Line has all four disc brakes, compared to disc-plus-drum combination of the regular i20, and this means performance in terms of stopping is better). In addition, the suspension settings are marginally different. All these make the overall driving experience slightly better.

And you don’t really need to pay a whole lot more. For instance, the regular i20 powered with the 1.0-litre turbo GDi petrol iMT is priced Rs 8,81 lakh, while the i20 N Line with the same engine and gearbox is priced Rs 9.84 lakh (ex-showroom). For a lakh rupees extra, you get better overall performance, and a whole lot of design paraphernalia that makes the car stand out. For some customers, that ‘standing out’ can be priceless.

In this mad rush for SUVs, the i20 N Line (a hatchback car) is a refreshing change. Agreed, while some compact SUVs come with smaller-capacity turbocharged petrol engines, and are more affordable as well, the i20 N Line makes the turbo look cool.

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