N-Credible! Hyundai’s 2024 Ioniq 5 N Debuts with 641 Horsepower

  • Hyundai’s hot-rotor Ioniq 5 N will produce 601 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque. With N Grin Boost activated, the output leaps to 641 hp.
  • The Ioniq 5 N is the first electric vehicle to simulate an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which Hyundai calls N e-shift.
  • Revised battery chemistry increases the usable capacity to 84.0 kWh from 77.4 using the same battery pack.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has already won us over, claiming Car and Driver’s EV of the Year title two years ago. From a performance standpoint, Kia’s EV6 GT paved the way as to what the Korean brands are capable of. Throw those two platform-sharing vehicles, big tires and brakes, some out-of-the-box thinking, and more than 6000 miles of development around the treacherous 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife into a performance-spectrum blender, and out comes the delicious 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.

Let’s start by removing any misconceptions that the Ioniq 5 is simply a rebodied Kia EV6 GT. The Hyundai takes things to the next level. It features its own specific suspension calibrations, including bushing tolerances, three-position electronically controlled dampers, and spring tuning. Also, an aluminum two-piece lower control arm is added to the standard Ioniq 5s stamped steel unit. For a stronger structure, there’s 42 additional welding points and more structural adhesive. To improve lateral rigidity, the motor and battery mounting points have been reinforced, and subframes have been beefed up.

Soundtrack of Choice

Like other electrified vehicles, the Ioniq 5 N offers user-selectable synthesized soundtracks. With N Active Sound+, there are three available sound profiles, and their volume can be adjusted from distant to in-your-face: Evolution is the spacey noise we’ve grown to dislike in many EVs, Supersonic emulates a fighter jet, but the most engaging profile will be Ignition. Through the eight internal and two external speakers, Hyundai set out for Ignition to emulate the sound of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four found in the Elantra N or the Kona N.

To date, the Ioniq 5 N is the most powerful Hyundai to reach customers. Its two motors—one at each axle—spin up to 21,000 rpm and combine to produce 601 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque during normal operation. With N Grin Boost activated, 641 ponies are in the stable. With the Boost mode engaged, Hyundai claims a 3.4-second sprint to 60 mph is in the cards. By our measuring stick, that’s a conservative number considering the 576-hp Kia EV6 GT did the deed in 3.1. Hyundai also claims top speed is limited to 161 mph, a number we’ve already verified on Germany’s autobahn.

“To date, the Ioniq 5 N is the most powerful Hyundai to reach customers.”

Simulated Gearshifts

The Ioniq 5 N e-Shift programing unleashes something that changes the game of how the brain processes EVs: simulated gearshifts. By briefly interrupting the motors’ torque delivery, N e-Shift mimics an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. The 5 N will jolt on upshifts. Downshifts are rev matched and accompanied by pops and bangs from the speakers during deceleration when Ignition sound mode is active, just like the internal-combustion N cars. Hyundai is completely transparent that interrupting torque delivery with N e-Shift isn’t the quickest way around a track, but by only a slim margin. If you take manual control with the shift paddles and miss a shift, you’ll hit a virtual fuel cutoff. Get caught out in too high a gear, and the Ioniq 5 will even lug the powertrain by limiting the power delivery. Yes, it’s totally fake and unrelated to the mechanicals, but it’s a degree of engagement that until now has been lost in the electrified world.

Slowing things down are the biggest brakes ever fitted to a Hyundai. Up front, four-piston fixed calipers squeeze 15.7-inch rotors (0.7 inch larger than the EV6 GT’s), while a single-piston slider pinches a 14.2-inch rotor in the back. Hyundai engineers also fitted the Ioniq 5 N with brake-specific brake cooling ducts to feed the binders a steady flow of cool air. The 5 N’s N Brake Regen operates in the background, and Hyundai claims it will deliver 0.6 g of decelerative force to remove some strain from the friction brakes.

The forces transmitted between the ground and the Ioniq 5 N are sent through forged 21-inch wheels wrapped in Hyundai-spec Pirelli P Zero Elect 275/35ZR-21 tires, the largest assemblies ever fitted to a Hyundai. To manage the inherent loads of more grip, the 5 N features a new steering rack and a strengthened steering column to help transmit what’s going on with the tires to the driver.

Storing and providing energy for the motors is the fourth-generation battery pack, now with a revised chemistry that enables 84.0 kWh of usable energy from the same pack that previously stored 77.4 kWh. Range estimates will be available closer to launch, but we aren’t expecting them to be groundbreaking. Call it around 220 miles.

Hyundai is serious about the 5 N’s service life on track. The goal is for the Ioniq to be able to complete two laps of the Nürburgring Nordschleife with little performance degradation. To accomplish that, Hyundai has optimized the 5 N’s cooling package, with more air entering the nose through vertical slots in the upper bumper cover. A more efficient radiator package comes from stacking the radiators on top of each other rather than stacked like a deli cold cut. The benefit of this is that hot air from one isn’t pushed into another. There’s also an improved oil cooler and an upgraded battery chiller.

Drive Modes

Like the gas-powered N cars, the Ioniq 5 is replete with drive modes. N Race offers a Sprint mode to maximize performance and use all the available power. Endurance mode is set to help with the two-lap mission by managing the battery, motor output, and regeneration strategies for extended time spent on track. According to Hyundai, the N Drift Optimizer can simulate the clutch kick action of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. There are also two battery preconditioning modes to optimize its performance, one for the track and another for drag racing.

The interior features the N treatments we love about the internal-combustion cars. The familiar N bucket seats will offer the same support and comfort levels as the gasser, and there are microsuede coverings throughout the cabin. Unlike the open front floor layout of the lesser Ioniq 5, the N features a full-length center console with a knee pad to brace against during extreme lateral loads. A new steering wheel with configurable buttons will likely be Hyundai’s most complicated tiller to date.

When the Ioniq 5 N arrives early in 2024, it will be offered in 10 colors, including the N-specific Performance Blue, in both gloss and for the first time, matte. We expect the price to be announced closer to launch, but expect something in the $70,000 range.

Headshot of David Beard

Senior Testing Editor

David Beard studies and reviews automotive related things and pushes fossil-fuel and electric-powered stuff to their limits. His passion for the Ford Pinto began at his conception, which took place in a Pinto.

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