Hyundai i30 N gets Australia-specific suspension tune
Hyundai Australia pushed hard for a local suspension tune for the i30 N which allows a bit more body-roll and more relaxed big bump recovery…
DESPITE THE GENERAL trend towards globalisation, Hyundai’s new i30 N hot-hatch will, in fact feature a specification unique to Australia.
And that’s purely because Hyundai Australia lobbied long and hard for a suspension tune that it knew would work better in local conditions.
But it wasn’t easy, and to hear Hyundai Australia’s senior product planning manager, Andrew Tuitahi, tell it, it was only a degree of doggedness that got the notion of a country-specific tune over the line.
The original plan for the i30 N was to arrive at a single, global specification, including the suspension tuning.
That’s the way of the car-making world these days, and it makes commercial sense in a development, parts-proliferation and, in fact, pretty much every other aspect of car making.
But Hyundai Australia, having driven the i30 N prototype, knew that while the suggested suspension set-up would work here, Australia’s very specific road conditions also dictated that the prototype could be improved upon.
Specifically, our pot-holed, continuously bumpy roads were an issue, as was the Australian local-government’s love of speed-humps.
Andrew told Practical Motoring he travelled to Germany to meet and work with the rest of the development team (using Hyundai’s permanent test facility at the famed Nurburgring circuit).
Damper tuning was identified as the best way to get what Australia needed, so Andrew built multiple sets of adaptive dampers and fitted them in succession to an i30 N prototype.
Once the base-line specification had been set, the prototype was sent to Australia where Andrew tested it on familiar roads that exhibited all the problem areas his team had identified.
But even though the German design team was happy with Andrew’s final set-up, there was insistence that the Aussie-spec car must meet all the criteria that any other i30 must.
That included a 220km/h brake-swerve-recover manoeuvre, simulating an emergency avoidance move on a German autobahn; not something likely to happen in Australia, but the car passed anyway.
According to Andrew: “The difference (in suspension tunes) is ours is ever so slightly more supple; there’s a little bit more body-roll and a calmer big-bump recovery”.
Of course, opting for a slightly softer tune goes against decades of Australian product planners choosing the firmest suspension on offer in name of local conditions, so in that sense the new Hyundai is a bit of a game-changer.
We’ll let you know once we’ve driven it next week.