Straight to the point
When you think of the hot hatch, you think of the Golf R, the Focus RS, or the A45 AMG, which are all properly fast. But now there is a new kid on the block the Hyundai i30N Project C. The i30N has been around for some years but now they have released Project C. A super-rare limited edition of the already fantastic i30N. Most car manufacturers just add more power and call it a day when developing a "faster" version but Hyundai has chosen the more difficult route. They chose to remove weight instead of adding power. In fact, the Project C has no more power than the normal i30N. In total, they have removed 50kg by using light composite materials for the wheels and a bunch of carbon fiber! The hood, front splitter, diffusor, seats, and side skirts are all made out of carbon fiber. The "C" in Project C actually stands for carbon fiber. Engine-wise the Project C produces the same 275 horsepower and 378 Nm of Torque. It's powered by a classic 2.0l four-cylinder, the usual. What makes the Project C so special is that there are only 600 units being produced worldwide. In Switzerland we're getting 125 units, each costing around 53'000 CHF, which is quite a bargain for a car as rare as a Bugatti Veyron. It even gets a little plaque on the passenger side that tells you which number you have, we got number 560. All Project C's get matte grey paint with red accents and those aftermentioned carbon parts. On the inside, it's equipped with some great-looking carbon bucket seats and of course, it comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. A clear highlight though is the sound, they made this thing sound epic! And it's not even that they added anything fancy, it's roughly the same exhaust as on the standard i30N exhaust. Coupled with that manual transmission the sound can be playful and you get an insane crack every time you shift up. A thing we thought we would dislike was the auto rev-matching but surprisingly we liked it. Of course, it's more fun to do it yourself, but the car does it so well and it doesn't spoil the fun at all. It allows you to concentrate every so slightly more on things that really matter. If you truly dislike the auto rev-matching you can turn it off. Like every other front-wheel-drive car in the winter, it does struggle with the power. Winter tires just don't allow for the optimal grip while fully accelerating. This isn't specific to the Project C though. We were pleased that the Torquesteer wasn't as bad as we had anticipated. This certainly was an issue in the Renault Megane RS Trophy R, a close competitor to the Project C. We feel that the Project C and the Trophy R are the last "no-nonsense" hot hatches. They are both very similar; power is at around 300hp, they have an upgraded chassis, brakes, aero, differential, and tires. Both have been put on a strict diet of carbon fiber, although the Trophy has no rear seats. But to be honest the back seats in the Project C are welcomed. Which one is better? Realistically it depends on what you are willing to pay for but we say if you are more of an old-school hot hatch lover, take the Project C. The Trophy R is a track toy and the Project C is made for fun back roads. Not that the Trophy R isn't fun, it's fantastic, but to reach its full potential you have to take it to a race track. With the Project C you can enjoy it's power realistically on the road without scaring the living out of yourself.