Hyundai's Veloster N has a design that appeals to the young, impressive performance and good handling
Hyundai Veloster N an edgy sportster The Hyundai Veloster N is neat through corners and can even provide a bit of lift-off oversteer. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

Hyundai's N programme is run by a team of engineers who used to work in Audi, AMG and BMW. The team is headed by Mr Albert Biermann, who hails from BMW's M division.

The initial stage of the N programme consists of three models - the i30 N hot hatch, the i30 N Fastback and the Veloster N.

All three performance cars use the platform of the i30 and share the same go-faster bits, namely the souped-up 2-litre turbo engine, oversized brakes and adaptive sports suspension.

The Veloster N has the most interesting design because it is shaped like a coupe, but its cabin has three doors - there are two on the passenger side, instead of one, to allow easier access to the backseat. The edgy and asymmetrical styling will appeal to younger drivers.

The Hyundai's turbocharged 2-litre 4-cylinder is tuned for either 250hp or 275hp and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels. The Veloster N I drove around Nurburgring is the higher-power version dubbed the Performance Package.

Apart from the sportier-looking exterior, there is the important inclusion of a real e-differential and 19-inch Pirelli Corsa tyres. The standard version makes do with 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tyres and brakes-based power redistribution.

There is also some form of launch/traction control, which relies on the driver getting the clutch-work correct for optimal take-off from a standstill.

Hyundai claims a century sprint time of 6.1 seconds for the 275hp Veloster N Performance Package.

There is surprisingly little evidence of torque-steer, thanks to the optimisation of the power-steering system. The steering lacks feel on the go, but gives reassuring weight.

Of the three Hyundai N newcomers, the Veloster N provides the most aggressive drive experience.

The short-throw gearshifter may not be the slickest, but it is satisfyingly direct, with a notchy feel as one engages the gears.

The drivetrain offers three factory pre-set drive modes - Normal, Sport and N (or Sport Plus). These are good for most driving situations.

Press the N button a second time to activate an "individual" drive mode, which saves your favourite drive settings just like BMW's M button. The N mode is entertaining, but too stiff for all but the smoothest roads. The ride is still too firm in Sport mode and quite good in Normal mode.

The handling is good, with the Veloster N having the ability to turn in and hold the line, albeit with mild understeer. The coupe is very neat through corners and can even provide a bit of lift-off oversteer.

South Korea's Hyundai Veloster N is more than a match for European pocket rockets.

But it is available only as a left-hand-drive model. If it is offered with right-hand-drive, it could be a viable South Korean alternative to the defunct Volkswagen Scirocco in Singapore.