There’s nothing quite like the annual Hyundai Australia N Festival.

For each of the past four years, Hyundai Australia has hosted the N Festival at different racetracks across the country. The event is open to all owners of Hyundai’s various N vehicles in Australia, costs just AU$55 ($37) to attend, and grants participants a weekend full of activities, a track day, and plenty of free goodies. As a means of churning up interest in the brand’s high-performance models and cultivating a passionate group of enthusiastic owners, it has proven to be a huge success.

This year’s event recently took place at The Bend Motorsport Park in Adelaide. This stunning facility is home to the world’s second longest permanent circuit (second only to the Nurburgring Nordschleife), a hotel, a small car museum, a restaurant, and plenty of pit garages.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

In the four years since the Hyundai N brand launched in Australia with the original i30 N hatchback, the range has grown and now also includes the i30 Sedan N, i20 N, and Kona N. You’d be hard-pressed not to see at least a couple of N models anytime you drive around a major Australian city, so prolific they have become. At a time when ICE-powered performance cars are slowly dying, Hyundai has to be applauded for developing a fleet of cars that appeal to driving enthusiasts.

A thriving brand and community

The 2022 event kicked off on a Saturday with a drive starting in the lovely Adelaide Hills and tracing around the Cape Jervis Peninsula to the water’s edge. For the drive, we jumped behind the wheel of a Kona N kindly loaned to us by Hyundai Australia.

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 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Things started bright and early on Saturday morning at a winery in McLaren Vale. By the time we arrived, more than 150 N cars had gathered, many of which had been driven by their owners thousands of kilometers to attend the weekend’s festivities. After a driver briefing and hundreds of barista-made coffees being handed out for free to owners, the drive commenced.

Winding through some of South Australia’s finest driving roads, the convoy made a handful of brief stops throughout the late morning and afternoon. It was so well organized that Hyundai Australia had established a number of photography checkpoints along the journey, allowing them to capture driving shots of each and every car that was participating.

For as enjoyable as the drive was, it was only a taste of what was to come on Sunday; the track day.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Hyundai descends on The Bend

Obviously, it’s not feasible to have some 200 cars on the track at one time. As such, the morning and early afternoon sessions saw The Bend’s West and East circuits operating simultaneously. Owners were divided into groups of 12 and every 15 minutes, a new group would go on to the two tracks, allowing enough time for at least 8 laps per session.

Participating in a private track day at a circuit as pristine as The Bend Motorsport Park will usually cost upwards of AU$400 ($270), making the AU$55 entry fee charged by the automaker an absolute bargain. It’s little wonder why more than 150 N owners from around the country descended on the track to put their cars to the test.

A fleet of press cars was also available throughout the day, including all of Hyundai’s current N models. Attending media were fortunate enough to be able to join any session in any of the available cars. Not one to waste any track time, I completed six sessions in the morning, sampling two i30 Sedan Ns, two i20 Ns, and two Kona Ns.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

All of Hyundai’s N models are bred on the racetrack and it’s perhaps their resilience to relentless abuse that has allowed Hyundai to host this event with such confidence. Indeed, the press cars were on continual rotation for more than eight hours straight, being used and abused by media members, and other than a couple showing some slight brake fade and burning through their tires, all performed flawlessly.


Having just driven the Kona N from Melbourne, I elected to take it out onto the track for the first session. It was instantly impressive, so much so that during my hot laps, I was left scratching my head as to how an affordable performance SUV like this can perform so brilliantly on a demanding racetrack. The brakes were strong, the grip tenacious, and the sound intoxicating. The only thing that caught me by surprise was its tendency for lift-off oversteer going into a turn or halfway through a turn. Indeed, one journalist span out directly in front of me in another Kona N.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Driven: 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Pushes Performance To New Heights

Next was a pair of i30 Sedan Ns. This is the best N car that Hyundai currently produces. It’s best known as the Elantra N in most overseas markets and while it has the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the i30 N hatch and Kona N, it feels far more poised than both of them.

Slamming on the brakes into the first turn having just eclipsed 210 km/h (130 mph) down the main straight, the i30 Sedan N’s front tires instantly offer huge levels of reassurance, encouraging you to tip it into the first turn with more steering lock than you’d think possible of a front-wheel drive car. The electronic limited-slip differential works flawlessly, allowing you to pin the throttle halfway through a turn. Heck, even the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires performed brilliantly despite some sprinkles of rain falling during the first few sessions.

For as impressive as the Kona N and i30 Sedan N were to drive around The Bend, it was the i20 N that was our highlight.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

The i20 N is a bundle of fun

We spent a few days living with the i20 N in April, embarking on a 2,000 km (~1,300-mile) road trip in it across some of Western Australia’s beautiful coastline. It performed brilliantly but as it turns out, is even better on a racetrack.

Fitted with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the i20 N delivers 201 hp (150 kW) between 5,500 rpm and 6,000 rpm and 202 lb-ft (275 Nm) of torque between 1,750 rpm and 4,500 rpm. These figures may make it seem underpowered compared to its N siblings but we were able to hustle it through to 192 km/h (119 mph) on the straight and achieve lap times just 1.5 seconds behind the i30 Sedan N. However, it wasn’t the pace of the i20 N that impressed us the most but rather how enjoyable it was to drive.

The i20 N is much smaller than all other N products and it feels it as soon as you tip it into a turn. The response is immediate and the grip from the 215/40 Pirelli P Zero HN tires is phenomenal, giving us the confidence to pin the throttle through turns that we had to lift off in the i30 Sedan N. Brake feel is tremendous and we never experienced any fade, despite slamming on the brakes at every corner and for multiple laps in a row.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Nothing seems to phase the i20 N when it’s driven at the limit. While it is best suited to precision driving, you can throw it around and kick out the tail through corners. The steering and six-speed manual transmission are ace. Everything about it is ace, in fact. I was so impressed that I started searching the classifieds for a used one immediately after wringing the neck out of it.

The pièce de résistance

Plenty of other things were happening throughout the day, including a small Motorkhana circuit that was set up in one of the parking areas. Another highlight was the presence of Hyundai’s RN22e, an all-electric concept unveiled back in July that is packaged in the body of the Ioniq 6 and uses parts that will be featured in the Ioniq 5 N. Seeing it in person was a shock. Seeing it drifting around some of The Bend’s most famous corners was mind-blowing.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

The mastermind behind the Hyundai N brand, Albert Biermann, attended the track day and both he and a handful of Hyundai race drivers sampled the RN22e throughout the day. The automaker has such faith in its owners that the RN22e was driven around the track at the same time that N owners were hustling their own cars through the bends. Name another automaker that will test a priceless development prototype quite like this.

The day ended with a handful of sessions on The Bend’s GT circuit which combines the West and East circuits into a 7.77 km (4.8 miles) track that has 35 corners. Keeping track of all the turns proved to be extremely challenging but was very enjoyable.

Hyundai’s range of N performance cars will change dramatically over the coming five years with the arrival of various all-electric models. But, even after the N range goes all-electric, its models will retain a track-focused edge and should be solid performers. In the coming five years, enthusiasts would be wise to appreciate the current N family and with events like this, they will be able to do just that.