Electric vehicles aren’t often thought of as fun-to-drive machines compared to gas-powered shifter vehicles, but Hyundai is doing its part to bridge the gap with the new Ioniq 5 N performance variant. As the name suggests, the automaker has delivered its popular crossover EV to its ‘N’ sub-brand teams and gives it a virtual eight-speed transmission and up to 478kW (equivalent to 641 horsepower).
The new “e-shift” dual-clutch transmission is designed to make the 2024 Ioniq 5 N feel like a zero-emissions combustion engine vehicle. It simulates gear shifting by adjusting the torque output of the twin motors, and includes shocks and fake engine noises to help you pretend you’re shooting pistons on the track. You can also take ‘manual’ control using paddle shifters and the system will even punish you with the feeling of being cut off if you miss the timing.
The Ioniq 5 N’s engines can push a combined maximum of 478kW using its ‘N Grin Boost’ mode and can sprint from zero to 62mph in around 3.4 seconds. This compares to the normal Ioniq 5 AWD, which has a combined output of 239kW / 320bhp and is about a second slower than the N. The new model is also technically more powerful than Tesla’s Model 3 Performance, which puts out around 450bhp forces.
The Ioniq 5 N looks a bit different than the regular model, including a deeper front bumper and a functional mesh that allows it a bit more airflow. There is an N emblem on the grille plus a sporty red Soul sticker in the center of both the front and rear bumpers. The car’s skirt has a red stripe that follows the EV’s perimeter, and of course, there are 21-inch alloy wheels for the full tricked-out look.
As the industry shifts to more electric vehicles, automakers are trying to find more ways to entice motorheads to embrace the future and abandon their enthusiasm for internal combustion engine cars. For example: Ford made a six-speed manual transmission for a unique electric Mustang, and Jeep’s Magneto EV concept was also designed with a full-shift experience. And Toyota is actively developing its own “manual” system for electric cars, which, like the Ioniq 5 N, also pretends that the transmission is not happy if you touch the controls.
Hyundai has developed other N electric performance vehicles as concepts, including its “rolling labs” RN22e (modified Ioniq 6) and N Vision 74. The automaker also produces the production Kona N EV, which runs on a separate electric vehicle platform compared with E -GMP one in Ioniq.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, despite not adopting the automaker’s newly announced Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA) EV platform, packs 84kWh of usable battery power compared to the standard 77.4kWh. Hyundai lists the N as supporting 350kW charging; meanwhile, its other vehicles don’t actually charge as quickly despite the shared speed-supporting platform. The N’s battery can also be charged from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes, according to the automaker.
As for other features, the Ioniq 5 N has all the features that the regular version has, including the vehicle-to-load (V2L) system, which essentially turns your car into a big battery bank. Mum’s the word on the Ioniq 5 N’s range, though, but if the surprisingly poor range of Hyundai’s subsidiary Kia EV6 GT trim is any indication, don’t expect to take it on long journeys.