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April 1, 2024

First Drive: 2024 Ioniq 5 N

What is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N exactly? It’s a straightforward question to ask, but harder to answer. See, it’s not exactly an electric hot hatch—it’s too big to fit that template. An electric high-performance crossover? Strictly speaking, yes, but that doesn’t capture the entire picture either.

The Ioniq 5 N reads like a mortal sin against every car enthusiast. It blends the traditional (read: internal combustion) performance stuff like engine sounds and gear shifting with new-age electric vehicle tech. Yet, at the end of the day, the wizards at Hyundai N have produced something that’s truly raucous and mind-blowingly awesome.

Starting with a regular Ioniq 5, one of the best EVs you can buy at any price point, “N-gineers” have painstakingly gone over every nook and cranny—the mechanicals, the aerodynamics, the software. No stone has been left unturned here.

The E-GMP platform has been welded and glued to be stronger, the suspension subframes have been reinforced, and the suspension tweaked with wider tracks and arms. Then you have adaptive dampers and 21-inch forged alloy wheels at each corner. The steering column mounts have also been strengthened and given a quicker ratio. The rear motor now has an electronically controlled limited slip differential and the front brakes fitted with four-piston calipers. And that’s just the start.

The functional aero means the Ioniq 5 N cuts a meaner figure. The bumpers are new and the rear spoiler’s there to cut lift. Various ducts are present for brake, and more importantly, battery and electric system cooling.

Then, you have the electrical parts. The motors now put out 650 horsepower and 770 Nm of torque. Zero to 100 km/h? 3.4 seconds, or as fast as a Ferrari Roma. Top speed? 260 km/h—the fastest of any production Hyundai. More than that, there’s an extra inverter that can harvest 435 horsepower for 0.6 G of braking force. A dedicated “N” tab on the infotainment screen unlocks a vast options menu which would please anyone who grew up on Gran Turismo. Selections include an engine-like sound generator, gear shift simulator, launch control, and heck, a one-button Drift mode.

A lot of EVs are fast, but there aren’t many of them which are faster than the Ioniq 5 N; the way it builds speed is truly savage. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its abilities. Hyundai says it’s easy to build a high-powered EV, but a high-performance one? That takes more effort.

Admittedly, the steering still feels a bit artificial, but there’s a high degree of precision built into it. Plus, the more you flog it into a corner, the more it comes alive. Through tighter bends, the Ioniq 5 N seems to shed a quarter of its 2.2-ton weight. It tracks in as keenly as any sportscar should, and uses all the electronic magic in its arsenal to remarkable advantage. Every lap in it builds up driver confidence, and before you know it, you’re powering even before you’re clipping the apex; there’s just so much mechanical traction available. With the motors, e-diff, and all doing their thing, it feels properly locked on. It takes a special kind of stupid to get the tail to snap out. That, or you decide to turn off all the driving aids.

The steering wheel itself has two N buttons, and they don’t do the same thing. The left is to open a pre-configured custom mode, while the other activates e-shifting. Now, feeling shifts in an EV is anything but orthodox (you even get a rev counter), but it’s important is getting that bit of additional feedback on the racetrack. The same goes for the separately switchable active sound generator. Typically, these things are there just for gimmicks, but it’s executed quite beautifully here. Surprisingly, the fake engine sound’s even pumped outside thanks to the two exterior speakers. “Ignition” is the typical default, but in keeping with the EV theme, “Evolution” is a personal favorite.

There’s also a one-button Drift mode called N Drift Control. It’s hard to find an everyday use for it, but it’s fun if you happen to have the space or the nerve to try it out. It brings the tail out with the rear motor, then brings in the stability control and front motor to hold the angle.

Inside, there isn’t a big difference between the Ioniq 5 N and the regular Ioniq 5, although it’s obvious that the slidable “Universal Island” is now fixed, acting as a knee pad for those seated upfront. There’s also much more visual drama here thanks to the all black suede and leather combo as well as the spattering of Hyundai N branding, including on the steering wheel for the first time. The front seats aren’t electronically adjustable, but at least retain their heated and cooled function. They aren’t Recaros, but they’re mighty comfortable and supportive.

The driving position’s a bit high for a high-performance hatch/SUV/thingamajig but it’s easy to peer out of in every angle reducing the blind spots to a minimum. The driver also has the same dual 12.3-inch inch layout, but there are new menus and layouts to cater for the many new N features controlled through it. For example, drive modes can be activated not just via buttons on the wheel, but through the touchscreen as well. You can just take the keys and go for a quick blast via one of the three preset driving modes, but if you want to delve deeper, you can spend serious time to personalize your Ioniq 5 N driving experience.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N isn’t exactly a hot hatch in the strictest sense, nor is it a high-performance SUV either. A riot is what it is. It takes the nascent electric vehicle tech and fuses that with the best engineering bits learned from making internal combustion engine vehicles. Along the way, it’s been imbued with Hyundai N DNA too. As a result, it’s an EV that’s every bit as involving and entertaining as the best gas-powered sports or super car out there—it’s fast, it’s playful, it’s fun. It’s one-of-a-kind and it’s all brilliant because of it.

More on Hyundai N and the Ioniq 5 N:


  1. Will this be available in Manila?

  2. All is good until you replace the battery worth Php 2M lmao

  3. Give it 3 years after release, they'll discontinue this in our country. They did that before.


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