Watch Hyundai's high-performance Ioniq 5 N electric car in action on ice


Hyundai has teased its new high-performance electric hatchback, the Ioniq 5 N, in a snow-covered winter testing video.

Shot in Arjeplog in northern Sweden, the footage shows the Ioniq 5 N prototype wearing dazzle camouflage while driving alongside Hyundai’s i20 N rally car.

In the film, both cars are seen drifting through forests and over frozen lakes, sometimes in close formation. Although there’s little detail of how the Ioniq 5 N will look, the video does at least give us an insight into how the car will sound, as the video leaves us with the electric motors’ howl.

The video was shot during what’s called the ‘blue hour’, which is the dusky period after sunset but before night has truly fallen. According to Hyundai, the blue tinge is meant to signify the high-performance N division’s shift from petrol power to electric propulsion.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N prototype under test

“Just as our N models are honed at the sharp corners of the Nürburgring, our N models are also honed at the sharp corners and icy surfaces of our proving ground in Arjeplog, ensuring maximum performance in the most extreme winter conditions,” said Till Wartenberg, vice-president of N brand management and motorsport sub-division at the Hyundai Motor Company.

As well as producing the video, Hyundai has revealed a handful of details about the Ioniq 5 N’s underpinnings, including some insight into the car’s all-wheel-drive system.

That system will include the ‘N Drift Optimizer’ that distributes torque (twisting force) between the front and rear axles, as well as tweaking steering effort and the electronic limited-slip rear differential (e-LSD), which controls torque distribution between the rear wheels, to create a driving mode “dedicated to drifting”. Designed to help “drivers of all skill levels”, the system is particularly geared up for those trying the sport for the first time.

According to Hyundai, the e-LSD will be a particularly important component for other driving situations, too, allowing the car to ascertain when a wheel needs extra torque to enhance overall traction. That, in theory, means the car should handle better during cornering and at high speeds, as well as in adverse conditions including snow and ice.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N prototype under test

The new Ioniq 5 N is set to draw inspiration from other Hyundai concepts, including the Veloster N ETCR touring car, which is based on the existing, petrol-powered Veloster N TCRs that are already racing. The electric variant, however, swaps the existing petrol engine for a mid-mounted electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

The Ioniq 5 N will also take some cues from the RN22e concept, which is based on the Ioniq 6 road car. That concept, which also uses two electric motors and has the same drift mode, was built as a rolling test bed for the technology that will be used in future N performance models.

“Our electric transition was spearheaded by the race-proven Veloster N ETCR and we sought to bridge motor sport technology to the road with the RN22e,” said Albert Biermann, executive technical advisor for Hyundai Motor Group.

“Now it is time to bring all this promise to our beloved customers and I am confident Ioniq 5 N will be able to deliver. We’ve been able to demonstrate the Ioniq 5 N’s capability to provide driving fun even in the harshest conditions of Arjeplog, Sweden.”

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N prototype under test

With these concepts and the N Vision 74, which combined hydrogen fuel cells and a rechargeable battery with Lancia 037-esque looks, Hyundai has been teasing the prospect of electric N performance cars for some time.

The Ioniq 5 N is set to be the first of these cars to enter production, with the market launch expected later this year.

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