The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Brings Performance to an Already Stellar EV

Hyundai’s first performance EV sounds like it’ll be a party on wheels

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
The Ioniq 5’s output is nearly doubled, and that’s just the start of the upgrades.

Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 charmed the car world when it took to the streets two years ago. Its style, utility and comfort won it several awards as well as motorist’s hearts. While fun to drive, it wasn’t overtly sporty. That changes today, though, as Hyundai reveals the Ioniq 5 N. Given the specs, the “n” seems to stand for “naughty.”

In its standard form, the Ioniq 5 is a hefty four-door EV liftback, with optional all-wheel drive if in its dual-motor configuration. That assembly also nets drivers 350 horsepower to play with and about 266 miles of range. With its introduction to Hyundai’s N performance lineup, the Ioniq 5’s output is nearly doubled, and that’s just the start of the upgrades. 

The Ioniq 5 N is set up with a 166-kW motor on the front axle and a 282-kW unit on the rear. They give the Hyundai an output of 600 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque, though with the use of a feature called the “N Grin Boost,” the motors are cranked up to 641-hp and 568 lb-ft for 10-second bursts of extra speed. 

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Feeding power to the motors is a larger 84-kWh battery pack, which also has better cooling and temperature optimization gear to make it more race-ready. In terms of handling hardware, the whole structure has been beefed up to be stiffer with more weld points, fitted with a whole batch of suspension upgrades as well as bigger brakes that work in tandem with the brake regen system. 

Along with a more athletic look, the Ioniq 5 N sits almost an inch lower and is 3.2 inches longer, while its fenders are pushed out a couple inches, too. The front rocks active air flaps, lip spoiler and a grille mesh to help cool the internals. Around back is a diffuser and rear wing at the top.

That’s the hardware, but it’s the software that really stands out. Thanks to the precision control available from the e-motors, Hyundai can adjust the power in a multitude of ways through its N Torque Distribution system. For instance, a drag mode will prime the battery for a big burst of energy while the wheels lay down the perfect amount of power for quick and consistent launches. Track mode balances things out for optimum aggression and a drift mode should make flicking the Ioniq 5 N around in circles a breeze. 

As if that’s not enough to make the Ioniq 5 N feel racy, Hyundai has incorporated some interesting little tricks that will either enhance the experience or sour the whole batch, depending on where you land on this type of stuff. Yes, friends, we’re back in “simulating vestigial function” territory. 

Sans transmission, the Ioniq 5 N utilizes an “e-shift” function to mirror the jolts felt between the shifts to make it feel like there’s an 8-speed dual clutch automatic somewhere inside. There’s also an active sound system that can play different effects while driving, either simulating a turbo-4 engine or to make it sound like a spaceship from the future. 

Sound packs like these aren’t new to EVs or even to the Ioniq 5, but the combination of that and the transmission gives us pause, similar to Toyota’s experiment with a pretend manual for its future electric cars. On one hand, having auditory and physical feedback in a track setting is useful, so if these functions are in service to that, super, but we’ll have to wait for our turn behind the wheel to find out for sure.

Pricing hasn’t been announced but the vehicle is expected to launch later this year, and we’ll be counting the days in the meantime.

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