Hyundai’s all-electric Ioniq 5 gets the N performance treatment with tricked-out handling, fake engine noises, and dual motors that can sprint zero to 62mph in about 3.4 seconds.
Electric vehicles aren’t often thought of as fun to drive machines compared to gear-shifting gas 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 handed its popular crossover EV off to the teams at its “N” subbrand and is giving it a virtual eight-speed transmission and up to 478kW (the equivalent of 641 horsepower).
The new “e-shift” dual-clutch transmission is designed to make the 2024 Ioniq 5 N feel like an internal combustion engine vehicle without the emissions. It simulates gear shifting by adjusting torque output on the dual motors and includes jolts and fake engine noises that help you pretend you’re firing pistons on the racetrack. You can also take “manual” control using shift paddles, and the system will even punish you with the feeling of a cutoff if you miss the timing.
Ioniq 5 N’s motors can push a combined maximum of 478kW using its “N Grin Boost” mode and can do a zero to 62mph sprint in about 3.4 seconds. That compares to the normal Ioniq 5 AWD, which has a combined 239kW / 320 horsepower output and is about a second slower than the N. The new model is also technically more powerful than Tesla’s Model 3 Performance, which outputs about 450 horsepower.
The Ioniq 5 N looks just a bit different than the regular model, including a deeper front bumper and a functional mesh that allows it a bit more airflow. There’s an N badge on the grille plus a sporty red soul patch in the center on both the front and rear bumpers. The skirt of the vehicle has a red pinstripe that follows around the perimeter of the EV, and of course, it’s got 21-inch aluminum wheels for the full tricked-out look.
As the industry shifts toward more electric vehicles, automakers are trying to find more ways to entice motor-heads to embrace the future and let go of their enthusiasm for internal combustion engine cars. For instance: Ford made a six-speed manual gearbox for a one-off electric Mustang, and Jeep’s Magneto EV concept is designed with the full-shift experience as well. And Toyota is actively developing its own “manual” system for EVs that, like the Ioniq 5 N, also pretends the transmission is unhappy if you fumble controls.
Hyundai’s developed other electric performance N vehicles as concepts, including its “rolling labs” RN22e (a modified Ioniq 6) and N Vision 74. The automaker is also making a production Kona N EV that runs on a separate electric vehicle platform compared to the E-GMP one in the Ioniq.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, despite not adopting the automaker’s newly announced Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA) EV platform, carries 84kWh of usable battery energy compared to the standard’s 77.4kWh. Hyundai does list that the N supports 350kW charging; meanwhile, its other vehicles don’t actually charge that fast despite the shared platform supporting the speed. The N’s battery can also charge from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes, according to the automaker.
As for other features, the Ioniq 5 N has all the features the regular version has, including the vehicle-to-load (V2L) system that turns your car into essentially 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 sister company’s Kia EV6 GT performance trim is any indication, don’t expect to take it for long road trips.