car news

Review – Hyundai IONIQ 5 N (2024) – This changes everything…

May 21, 2024

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

According to Hyundai N, the Korean brand’s performance division, the Ioniq 5 N is the most challenging N car they have ever built. They have pulled out all the stops to make an electric car a performance monster where you really feel involved as a driver. Because, of course, that’s the tricky thing about electric cars: they don’t make any noise and can often do only one trick: accelerate rock hard in a straight line. The Ioniq 5 N can do many more tricks….

Full of features

What sets the Korean apart from all other fast electric cars is an array of special features Hyundai has integrated to make it drive like a true sports car. For example, there is the Drift Optimizer, which allows you to go across in a controlled way, perfect for the track. Colleague Bart recently tested this feature and expertly sent the Ioniq 5 sideways around the track. You can read how that went here.

Close-up of the left front of a white Hyundai Ioniq with black and red accents, highlighting the steering wheel, brake caliper and part of the headlight and grille. A license plate is partially visible.

It also offers flexible power distribution, with standard 4WD but also the ability to send power only to the front or rear wheels. Hyundai also firmly tweaked the steering and suspension. In addition, larger tires and brakes were installed, along with an additional inverter that allows the car to brake much harder on the electric motor. Thanks to all these clever gadgets, cornering becomes a party. That heavy feeling you normally have with an EV? Forget it! It can effortlessly zigzag through corners at speed, just like a real sports car.

Rear view of a white Hyundai Ioniq with a license plate reading
Close-up of the front wheel of a Hyundai Ioniq with a striking geometric rim design, a red brake caliper and part of the white car's front bumper, against a green, grassy background.

Gasoline engine

The icing on the cake are the sound generator and the virtual eight-speed automatic. First that sound, how does that sound? While the Ioniq 5 N is not the first electric car to play sound over the speakers, it is the one that performs it best. It really adds something and greatly engages you as a driver in the driving experience. The sound responds accurately to the amount of gas you give, and even when you let off the throttle it sounds surprisingly realistic. You can even hear the typical thuds from the exhaust.

A person drives a Hyundai Ioniq down a tree-lined road. The car's dashboard and steering wheel are visible, displaying navigation and vehicle information.

You have a choice of three different sound profiles. Two of them sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, while the third mimics the sound of a gasoline N model. Those first two sound profiles sound a bit nervous, but the sound of the gasoline engine is guaranteed to put a big smile on your face.

A white Hyundai Ioniq electric car is parked on a dirt road surrounded by greenery. The car has a Dutch license plate that reads


But the sound is not the only thing that makes this car special; it is the gearbox that really makes the difference. The electric Hyundai is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission complete with dual clutch. Okay, technically he hasn’t, of course, but that’s how it feels. In fact, the Koreans have developed a piece of software that, at the push of a button, suddenly stops linear acceleration and requires you to shift gears yourself to move forward. If you don’t, you reach the virtual rev limiter and notice that the car starts to buck.

A white Hyundai Ioniq electric car is parked in front of trees on a gravel surface, seen from the left rear corner. The vehicle has a Dutch license plate.

Then, when you do shift up, the engine seems to hold back for a nanosecond before the car shoots forward at full speed and you are firmly pressed into your seat, just as it would in a sports car with a real gasoline engine. When downshifting, you not only hear the sound of a downshifting engine, but you actually feel the car decelerating sharply on the engine. If you drive too slowly in a high gear, it starts to buck and you barely move forward. It sounds like a gimmick on paper, but it feels so realistic, you wouldn’t know any better if you were in a gasoline-powered car. That’s what makes the Ioniq 5 the nicest EV you can buy right now.

Shot from a low angle of the front of a modern white Hyundai Ioniq with striking black-silver alloy wheels, red brake calipers and sleek body lines, against a wooded background.

fast charging

It’s not just its power, handling and that virtual automatic that make it so much fun, but also its payload. The regular Ioniq 5 – which you see a lot on Dutch roads – is one of the fastest charging cars on the market. The N model also benefits from Hyundai’s hyper-fast charging technology. It can fast charge to well over 200 kW, a feat that almost no other EV matches. During a charging session along the highway, we are surprised to see that the Fastned charger’s display shows 266 kW of charging power, while the battery is already over half full. A performance that is at least as impressive as the driving performance of the Ioniq 5 N. In practice, this means that you can drive this car completely empty on the racetrack or Autobahn and then only need a little more than 15 minutes to recharge the battery to 80%. Let that sink in for a moment….