Hyundai Ioniq 5N (2024) review: A family EV on steroids


Many car companies They have great performance sub-brands that satisfy both the auto engineers’ genetic predisposition for showiness and the needs of customers for whom normal speed and handling are not enough. BMW has the M division, Range Rover has SVR or Special Vehicle Operations, Hyundai has N.

The “N” apparently refers to two things: the Namyang district in South Korea, home to Hyundai’s global R&D center, where the N was founded; and the Nurburgring in Germany, where all N models are tested at extreme speeds until, one guesses, their tires explode into pieces of rubber.

Well, Hyundai has its first electric N model, the Ioniq 5 N. WIRED was very impressed with the 2021 vanilla Ioniq 5 and couldn’t find anything wrong with it. One of our criticisms at the time was that some expected the EV to be a little sporty. The 5 N is meant to remedy this flaw — perhaps to an excessive extent. It’s also clear that Hyundai developed this Ioniq 5 on steroids with the intention of making it what most auto obsessives call a “proper driver’s car,” whether you’re into electric or not.

Audio illusions

Hyundai Ioniq 5N

Photo: Hyundai

In addition to a maximum of 641 bhp, zero to 62 mph acceleration in 3.4 seconds, a top speed of 162 mph, a Race mode that cranks up the power so much that the N laps the Nurburgring in under eight minutes twice Without getting overheated, and with a frankly bewildering array of customizable options for fine-tuning nearly every aspect of the 5N’s handling and performance, the most obvious feature of the driver-centric approach here is the N’s “E-Shift.”

When E-Shift is activated, the steering wheel paddles combine with the car’s motors, regenerative braking system and 10-speaker sound setup (two outside, eight inside) to simulate internal combustion car gear changes — not just audibly, but physically as well.

Simulated engine noise reverberates throughout the cabin, while the motor and regen braking manipulate torque resistance to simulate the momentary dips and changes in thrust you get when changing gears. These “dips” are accompanied by corresponding changes in the simulated noise, and together create an eerie feeling of driving an ICE car. There’s even increased regen braking and improved acceleration at higher simulated revs.

Of course, Hyundai is blatantly cheating here and trying to fool you. But like all illusions, if it works, even if you know it’s completely made up, you don’t care. And I didn’t care. In fact, I quite liked it. And this is from someone who until now loathed – or maybe “hated” is a better word – fake engine noises.

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How Hyundai managed to pull off this trick is evident from the fact that it took a year of software development as well as extensive simulation and track testing. Tyrone Johnson, the new managing director of Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center, who until recently was one of the people behind the Ford Focus RS, confessed to me that he didn’t like the concept right away.


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