Hyundai Ioniq 5 N review

Category: Electric car

The N performance version of the Ioniq 5 electric car is very fast and practical but also expensive

Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N front right driving
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  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N steering wheel and screens
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  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N infotainment touchscreen
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  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N interior panoramic roof
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N interior detail
  • Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N front right driving
  • Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N rear cornering
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N steering wheel and screens
  • Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N boot open
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N infotainment touchscreen
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  • Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N front driving
  • Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N front right driving
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  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N interior front seats
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N interior back seats
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N interior panoramic roof
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 N interior detail

Introduction

What Car? says...

The world has never been treated to a musical collaboration between rock legends AC/DC and K-Pop superstars BTS. Thankfully. But that oddball blend of the old and new was how Hyundai N boss Albert Biermann described the challenge of creating the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.

The internal combustion engineering knowhow is AC/DC, and the electric-car technology is BTS. The result? Rather than a musical crime, we have a 641bhp fully electric hyper-hatch with a “gearbox” and engine noise.

It is, of course, based on the regular – and excellent – Hyundai Ioniq 5 but comes with a number of performance upgrades. They include new suspension, reworked steering and a vast array of drive modes designed to separate it from the closely-related Kia EV6 GT and appeal to drivers looking for a legitimate battery-powered track toy.

Hyundai’s N division is like what M is to BMW and AMG to Mercedes, and has been responsible for some great hot hatches so far, including the Hyundai i20 N and Hyundai i30 N.

But is the 2.2-tonne fully electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 N actually fun? Is it a good hot hatch? And how does it compare to the EV6 GT? Read on to find out...

Overview

The Ioniq 5 N is a very quick electric car in a practical package with some drive-mode party pieces. It’s more expensive than many electric and fuel-powered alternatives, though.

  • Explosive straight-line pace
  • Just as practical as the Ioniq 5
  • Fast charging speeds
  • Costs more than electric alternatives
  • Some features more suited to track use
  • Mercedes-AMG A45 S is cheaper and more talented

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N draws its power from an 84kWh battery, which is a little bigger than the battery in the regular car. It gives the 5 N an official range of around 278 miles, which is down on a non-N Ioniq 5 (315 miles) and behind the Tesla Model Y Performance (319 miles).

You’ll be able to cover those miles quickly though: with a motor on each axle, the Ioniq 5 N produces a combined 601bhp – or 641bhp in 10-second bursts using an overboost function called N Grin Boost. Using launch control, the car is said to hit 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds.

The way it builds speed is truly savage. But then again, the same can be said of the Kia EV6 GT, the Porsche Macan Turbo Electric and the Model Y Performance. Where the Ioniq 5 N stands out from the crowd is with the many drive mode party tricks it has up its sleeve. Take a deep breath and we’ll explain...

To start with there are the regular modes you’d expect: Eco, Normal and Sport. They alter things like the accelerator response, the steering weight and the damper stiffness. Plus, there are two customisable modes you can configure to your heart’s content through the infotainment touchscreen.

Then, like on the EV6 GT, there’s a drift mode, which helps encourage the car to go sideways but still with a hint of traction control involved to prevent snap oversteer, and two types of track mode that maximise the cooling of the battery and electric motor to prevent overheating.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N image
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Are you still following along? Excellent, because we're far from finished. Delve into the infotainment system, and you'll stumble upon N Pedal—a feature that significantly amplifies the impact of regenerative braking.

The concept is simple: when you ease off the accelerator during spirited driving, the increased braking force assists in shifting the car's weight forward, enhancing your turn-in ability. Additionally, N Torque Distribution offers 11 options for torque allocation, allowing you to distribute power anywhere from 100% to the front wheels to 100% to the rear wheels.

Then there's N e-Shift and N Active Sound Plus – a unique combination in the electric car world right now. N Active Sound Plus triggers some fake engine noise (there are two other less conventional sounds you can choose instead) pumped into the interior via six speakers and outside the car via two external speakers. We’ve already seen – or, rather, heard – the Abarth 500e do something similar.

N e-Shift, though, makes the car drive as if it has an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Of course, it doesn’t actually have one – it has a single-speed transmission, as most electric cars do. But with the “gearbox” engaged, the paddles on the steering wheel can shift up and down the simulated gears.

N e-Shift was tuned by the Hyundai engineer who derived the real-life eight-speed automatic gearbox used in other N cars. Flat-out acceleration sends the “revs” soaring and as you pull a paddle for an upshift the power delivery is interrupted briefly until the next “gear” engages, causing a genuine jolt in the driver’s seat.

Each gear responds in the way you’d expect. If you're in “fifth gear” at “low revs” and floor the accelerator, for example, the performance is limited and gradually builds as if you were in a fuel-powered car. Coupled with a synchronised soundtrack that takes into account your gear and accelerator position, you can’t help but be impressed with the clever engineering that has gone into the system – engineering we reckon makes you a better driver. 

That might sound like a bold claim for a feature that many will consider to be nothing more than a gimmick, but the artificial engine noise and gearing provides you with a better perception of speed, allowing you to be more accurate on a country road (particularly on the way into corners, where you can shift down for extra engine braking). 

What if you simply can’t stand the idea of fake engine noise on a philosophical level? Well, the good news is that even with the N e-Shift and N Active Sound Plus systems turned off you’re still left with an impressive-handling car. The front end of the Ioniq 5 is noticeably sharper than that of the EV6 GT and it also exhibits a more playful handling balance, with the car rotating gently when you lift off the accelerator mid-corner. 

It also grips like hell (thanks to sticky Pirelli P-Zero tyres) and does a good job of resisting body lean through quick corners provided you have its adaptive suspension in its firmest setting. Indeed, it’s only when you start to really hustle the Ioniq 5 N down a heavily cambered, broiling country road that its 2.2-tonne kerb weight starts to reveal itself, with the suspension taking a moment or two to rein in big body movements.

At this extreme, the lower, tauter Porsche Taycan saloon is more settled, as are most petrol-powered hot hatches such as the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45 S. But compared to other electric hatches, the Ioniq 5 N is in a league of its own.

And better yet, its dynamism hasn’t come at the expense of comfort. With the suspension in its softest setting, there’s still some firmness to it, but you can tackle big motorway miles with a ride that's a touch more pliant than an EV6 GT’s.

Driving overview

Strengths Rapid straight-line pace; vast drive mode configurability; simulated gearing is superb

Weaknesses A racetrack is needed to use some modes safely

Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Inside there isn’t a huge amount of difference between the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N and a regular Ioniq 5. There are new heated and ventilate bucket seats, which are not electrically adjustable but are nicely comfortable and supportive.

The driving position is the same, which is a shame if you’re hoping for a low-slung sporty feel behind the wheel. It’s more like a traditional SUV, and would be better if you could lower the seat a few notches (you can blame the battery under the floor for that). Parts of the 12.3in digital driver display can be blocked by the steering wheel, depending on your seating position.

You have the same dual-screen layout, giving you a 12.3in digital driver display joined to a 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system, although there are a few more menus and layouts to cater for the many new N features controlled through it.

The drive modes are activated using buttons on the new steering wheel, or through the touchscreen. And there are many different menus and sub-menus to swipe through depending on the function you’re trying to activate or customise.

You can just take the keys and go for a quick blast up the road in one of the preset driving modes, but those wanting to delve into the full suite of driving features will have to spend a serious amount of time familiarising themselves with the layout. As much as it’s fiddly and a little overwhelming at first, we're sure some buyers will gladly pore over the many modes and configurations like the settings on a video game.

Aside from the N bits, the infotainment is the same as the regular car's. Some icons are a bit small, but it’s a responsive screen with good graphics and helpful physical buttons along the bottom to aid navigating through all the functions.

The climate controls are always visible on a screen below the infotainment, which is good, but the buttons are touch-sensitive rather than physical, so it requires more of your attention while driving to operate them.

The interior looks modern and is mostly well laid out, with leather and alcantara that lift the quality a little compared with the regular car.

Some plastics aren’t especially tactile, though – including those used on the passenger’s side of the dashboard and the lower doors – and a few bits even wobble when you prod them. That's disappointing on even the entry-level versions of the Ioniq 5 let alone this very expensive one. A Kia EV6 GT looks and feels a little better.

Interior overview

Strengths Responsive touchscreen; bucket seats are comfortable and supportive

Weaknesses Driver display blocked by steering wheel for some; some materials disappoint

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N steering wheel and screens

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The amount of space for passengers and luggage in the Ioniq 5 N is just the same as in regular versions of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 which means this car is as practical as it is quick.

Space up front is very generous: you’d have to be well over 6ft tall to have any problems with leg room. The wide interior adds to the sense of spaciousness.

In the rear, leg room is ridiculously generous, and not far off what you’d expect in a limo. Head room is good too. What’s more, you can recline the rear seats, and slide them back and forth.

The generous passenger space doesn’t come at the expense of a practical boot, and the Ioniq 5 is roughly on a par with the Kia EV6 for luggage carrying. We managed to slot seven carry-on suitcases below the load cover of the regular Ioniq 5 and EV6, so this 5 N should take the same. For comparison, a Tesla Model Y's front and rear boots combined can fit 10.

Practicality overview

Strengths Vast rear seat space; massive boot

Weaknesses Tesla Model Y’s boot is bigger

Orange Hyundai Ioniq 5 N boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

There's just one version of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, and aside from the paint and a sunroof, there are not any options you can add. All the drive-mode gizmos and mechanical advancements over the regular Ioniq 5 come as standard.

On one hand, it’s cheaper than the Audi e-Tron GT, Porsche Taycan and Porsche Macan Electric. On the other, it’s more expensive than both the Kia EV6 GT and the Tesla Model Y Performance – although the differences up at this price point are not huge.

Remember, you can check the latest prices using our New Car Deals pages.

The 5 N is capable of the same superfast charging speeds as the regular car, which means at its maximum rate of 238kW you can get a top up to 80% in less than half an hour. Using a more common 50kW public charger, that time would be one hour and 10 minutes.

The non-N Hyundai Ioniq 5 was awarded the full five stars out of five when it was tested by safety experts Euro NCAP. That result doesn’t technically cover the 5 N, but the results suggest it should offer an excellent level of protection.

In terms of reliability, Hyundai finished a very impressive seventh out of 32 manufacturers in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey and the regular Ioniq 5 finished sixth out of nine models in the electric SUVs section of the survey.

Costs overview

Strengths Hyundai’s reliability record; fast maximum charging speed

Weaknesses More expensive than rivals


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Hyundai Ioniq 5 N infotainment touchscreen

FAQs

  • The total system output of the Ioniq 5 N is 641bhp with the NGB overboost function engaged. Without that, it still delivers a mighty 601bhp.

  • With launch control activated the Ioniq 5 N covers 0-62mph in a truly rapid 3.4 seconds.