YEONGAM, South Korea — Former Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann as soon as advised me that the corporate’s N vehicles needs to be “slightly loopy.” And should you’ve ever pushed the Elantra N, Kona N or Veloster N (RIP), you understand precisely what I imply. Borderline unhinged and raucous in one of the simplest ways, Hyundai’s N vehicles may not be the sharpest or most subtle pocket rockets, however candy saltwater taffy, they’re a whale of a time.
It’s an ethos that’s served the Hyundai N lineup nicely, and a spirit that I’m joyful to report may be very a lot alive within the firm’s first electrical rowdy boi: the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N. That’s even if this isn’t a sizzling hatch, however a compact crossover the scale of a Tucson that ideas the scales at 2.2 tons – sufficient to make Biermann name it the “literal elephant within the room.”
The N-specific adjustments begin with – what else? – extra energy. The Ioniq 5 N makes use of a brand new 84-kilowatt-hour battery pack (versus the usual automobile’s 77.4) and pair of electrical motors that churn out a mixed 601 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque. Hit the “NGB” button on the steering wheel – shorthand for N Grin Increase – and output is elevated to 641 hp for transient moments, permitting the Ioniq 5 N to speed up to 60 mph in an estimated 3.3 seconds.
The Ioniq 5 N’s driving vary continues to be TBD and Hyundai is not providing any ballpark estimates. The usual long-range, dual-motor Ioniq 5 has an EPA-estimated vary of 260 miles, however it additionally has that smaller 77.4-kWh battery. Maybe the N’s bigger pack will negate the vary drop that comes with the massive enhance of energy. We’ll know for certain in just a few months time.
With a view to higher face up to the upper calls for of racy driving, the Ioniq 5’s battery has elevated thermal administration safety. You’ll be able to precondition the battery to Drag or Observe settings – the previous supplying you with an all-out burst of energy whereas the latter is alleged to offer extra constant efficiency over a number of laps. Additionally, don’t neglect, the Ioniq 5’s 800-volt structure permits for faster-than-average charging speeds of as much as 238 kilowatts. Hyundai’s even planning to put in Degree 3 fast-chargers at choose tracks world wide.
The Ioniq 5 N will allow you to manually alter the facility distribution between the 2 motors, permitting you to ship as much as 100% of the obtainable torque to both the entrance or rear axle. That is additionally the way you unlock the N Drift Optimizer – a model of the expertise that sister firm Kia gives on the EV6 GT – which makes sliding the rump ‘spherical tight corners a lot simpler. It’s the stuff it is best to solely save for a closed course, and completely not for doing doughnuts within the Walmart car parking zone at 3:00 a.m. Ahem.
Regenerative braking additionally performs an element within the N expertise. As in all different Hyundai Group EVs, the i-Pedal mode ratchets up regen sufficient in regular driving to allow you to drive with one pedal. The Ioniq 5 N provides a brand new step past that with N-Pedal: swap it one whereas lapping a monitor, and the regen is elevated so that you aren’t digging into the mechanical brakes as a lot. It’s like a one-pedal race mode, and it’s tuned remarkably nicely.
From there, it’s extra of what you count on. The Ioniq 5 N has 21-inch wheels and Pirelli P Zero 275/35 summer season tires in any respect 4 corners. The physique is stronger with elevated lateral rigidity, and the electrical drive motors are encased in WRC-like axles to higher deal with the elevated torque whereas additionally decreasing unsprung mass. Stiffer chassis parts and a faster steering rack spherical out the adjustments, and the entire automobile is bundled up in a hot-looking wrapper with “Luminous Orange” accents and purposeful bits of aero add-ons.
These predictable adjustments can be sufficient to show the Ioniq 5 right into a ripper, however once more, what’s an N automobile and not using a little little bit of loopy? With out query, probably the most fascinating piece of the Ioniq 5 N puzzle is one thing referred to as N E-Shift, which mimics the expertise of driving a automobile with an inner combustion engine and planetary gear set, both swapping by way of imaginary cogs by itself, or on the driver’s request by way of the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
With N E-Shift, the Ioniq 5 doesn’t drive like an EV. The electrical motors initially delay response to present the sensation of turbo lag. The ability peaks and surges just like the turbo engines in Hyundai’s different N vehicles. You’ll be able to rev excessive in every gear and the Ioniq 5 will lurch and minimize energy whereas your pretend tach needle bangs off the pretend rev limiter. The expertise is legitimately uncanny. And it’s enjoyable. Like, a ton of enjoyable.
I do know N E-Shift feels like simply one other EV gimmick. However after just a few laps across the Korea Worldwide Circuit – the nation’s former Formulation 1 monitor – I can’t think about driving the Ioniq 5 N with this tech turned off. No, it received’t trick your mind into considering you’re in a gas-powered sports activities automobile, however the sound of the ‘engine’ and kick of the ‘shifts’ actually heightens this automobile’s visceral nature. It provides the Ioniq 5 angle, and genuinely provides to the rambunctious vibe that’s an indicator of each N product.
It makes the Ioniq 5 N extra fascinating to drive on public roads, too – even the closely speed-regulated streets of South Korea. A part of what I’ve all the time liked about Hyundai’s N vehicles is that they’re enjoyable as heck for bombing round city or taking freeway on-ramps with gusto. Is the Ioniq 5 N too stiff for each day driving? It looks like it’ll be OK, however then South Korea’s roads are additionally impeccably paved. We’ll let you understand how it does after a drive up the 405 in Los Angeles or just about wherever in southeastern Michigan.
Inside, the N doesn’t tremendously differ from different Ioniq 5s, however there are just a few significant adjustments, together with a rear window wiper, which is an even bigger win than you may suppose. The 5’s nifty sliding middle console is gone, changed by a lighter, fastened setup with a wi-fi charging pad. Closely bolstered sport seats present sufficient consolation for lengthy stints behind the wheel, and there are little Alcantara touches right here and there – together with the steering wheel.
Not one of the Ioniq 5’s in-car tech is misplaced within the transition to N mode; the 12.3-inch middle display runs an up to date model of Hyundai’s multimedia software program that lastly – lastly! – permits wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections. The same old smattering of driver-assistance options shall be provided, too. This received’t be some stripper-spec sports activities automobile. Nor ought to or not it’s, contemplating the Ioniq 5 N will possible be priced within the $65,000 to $70,000 vary when it goes on sale subsequent March – an informed guess primarily based on present Ioniq 5 MSRPs.
All the pieces that’s nice about the usual Ioniq 5 is alive and nicely within the N, with the additional advantage of this automobile being correctly rambunctious and enjoyable to throw round. If that is how Hyundai plans to deliver its N model into the electrical period, then we have now quite a bit to sit up for certainly.