2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N First Drive: This Thing Turned This ICE Lover Into an EV Believer - SUV VEHICLE

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N First Drive: This Thing Turned This ICE Lover Into an EV Believer


I’m not an EV hater, nor am I a staunch supporter by any stretch of means. Just clearing the deck since the debate over their validity continues at full force and any opinion broadcast about them instantly sparks heated arguments. But after driving the 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N like a maniac around Laguna Seca—for the first time ever I might add, at high speeds or about 7-9/10’s driving—and regularly on public roads, I can safely say that I’m far less skeptical about EVs as I was prior to driving it. That’s because, not only was it my first time lapping Laguna Seca, it was also my first time extensively driving any EV in the context of a review, and to say that I walked away a changed man is a major understatement.

Like with most other things, I believe that EVs do have their time and place and they certainly work as cars, I will not deny that. Though I’ll also be the first to tell anyone that I believe their whole hype and premise thus far is a strong case of over-promising and under-delivering.

They’re not the immediate magic bullet to replacing internal combustion engine vehicles that everyone seems to continue making them out to be, in this push for sustainable and less polluting personal forms of transportation that’s also good for society. Simply, I believe we have a while before EVs get anywhere near replacing conventional ICEs as the standard.

Soapbox aside, like all new technologies, they are obviously going through their teething issues, whether it be insufficient charging infrastructure, frustrating charging times, and limited range, all of which still have me clutching the pearls of my ICE-powered cars until the day I die, especially when it comes to track day or autocross outings. I’ll also admit I’m probably biased by my preference and love for all things internal combustion, which succeeds my ultimate passion for all things automotive. Should you want to hear more about that, however, you’ll probably have to wait for another op-ed. Because I’m here to talk about the Hyundai IONIQ 5 N and how freakin’ life-changing it is.

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N Front 3-4 Right View
2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

Forget everything you know about electric vehicles as performance cars because the 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N rewrites them all. Not only does it have what it takes to put an unnerving grin on your face as a total hoon machine, but it charges ahead to shine a new light on the prospect of performance-bred EVs.

  • Blitzkrieg fast and a total track-ready hoon machine
  • Does well to hide most of its EV weight
  • Performance tuning with input by former BMW M Chief Engineer
  • Proves that EVs can be full-fledged performance vehicles
  • Feels like a normal car in normal situations
  • Weighs nearly 2.5 tons
  • Expensive
  • Only 221-mile driving range
  • Brake pedal feel takes some getting used to
  • Overwhelming amount of settings and adjustments
The Factory-Tuned Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Is Almost Pikes Peak-Ready

With Hyundai continuing to push the boundaries of electric power, the Ioniq 5 N is ready to set a new record at this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

In order to provide you with an honest and unbiased review, Hyundai Motor America flew and accommodated me and a bunch of other auto journalists out to Monterey, California to test drive the vehicle in this article for a day on public roads and at speed on Laguna Seca Raceway, for an entire day. For detailed insight into testing procedures and data collection, please review our
methodology policy

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N First Impressions

As I’m sure you can deduce from the name, the IONIQ 5 N is the full-fledged high-performance version of the standard IONIQ 5 all-electric crossover SUV—whether it’s accurately justified in being called an SUV, despite looking like a large hatchback, is another subject of constant debate, but I digress. That means Hyundai takes its award-winning IONIQ 5 and sends it through the company’s rather newly-established high-performance N division (synonymous to BMW M, Mercedes-AMG, Audi S etc.), the same division spearheaded by former BMW M chief engineer, Albert Biermann.

The division then gives it more juice from a higher-output battery pack, performance-tuned suspension, steering, brakes, and chassis upgrades, all at the behest of Biermann’s input—despite his retirement from Hyundai directly, he’s still on a major board of directors as a consultant in the engineering department. The result is the world’s first truly performance-oriented EV.

Now, you might be waiving red flags and thinking, “well, what about the Porsche Taycan, high-output Teslas, the Lucid Air, even Kia’s EV6 GT, etc?” Well, yes, those are all incredibly fast EVs, but none of them are particularly full-fledged performance vehicles that are the total package, excluding incredibly high-dollar super- or hypercars, like a Rimac or Lotus Evija. Hear me out. Those types of EVs have all proven that EVs can be blitzkrieg benchmark-setting fast. There’s no denying that.

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N Front 3-4 Right View
Chris Chin / TopSpeed

But while those fast EVs haul butt in a straight line, none of them (again, super- and hyper EVs notwithstanding) quite embrace the concept of being an all-around performance vehicle like a fully-developed and massaged BMW M or Mercedes-AMG car does. For example, analogizing the IONIQ 5 and the IONIQ 5 N is like comparing a V-8-powered non-M BMW 5 Series and an M5. The non-M 550i is still an incredibly fast and excellent performing car in a straight line and even in the bends, but it’s not as purposefully tuned and finessed to destroy a racetrack as an M5 is. And that’s what separates the IONIQ 5 N from all those other EVs and even the standard IONIQ 5. And boy, does the IONIQ 5 N certainly impress in regard of being a complete, all-around performance package.

Exterior Dimensions


185.6 Inches


76.4 Inches


62.4 Inches


118.1 Inches

Front Track

65.6 Inches

Rear Track

65.8 Inches

Curb Weight

4,861 Pounds

Driving Impressions And Performance

To supplement all the performance chassis tuning and aggressive bodywork, Hyundai N engineers nearly doubled the main battery pack’s density and output from 277 kilowatts to 535 kW for the dual electric motor arrangement. The result is a whopping total output of 641 horsepower and 568 pound-feet torque when in full NGB (N Grin Button) boost mode, with the rear churning out 406 of those horses and 295 of those torques, and the front twisting out 235 horses and 273 pound-feet of torque.

That means the IONIQ 5 N at its peak is the most powerful production Hyundai ever made with more power than today’s twin-turbocharged Mercedes-AMG E63 S with its 603 horses and 627 pound-feet of torque. When NGB boost mode isn’t engaged, total output numbers drop to 601 horses and 545 pound-feet.

In addition to being bat-poop insane fast in a straight line, it’s also set up to attack corners, with Hyundai itself calling it a “corner rascal.”

Complementing the already extensive laundry list of modifications, Nürburgring Nordscheife-proven EV performance tires specially developed by Pirelli as the cherry on top. Despite weighing close to two and a half tons (4,861 pounds to be exact), the IONIQ 5 N handles remarkably, feeling balanced and agile while doing well to hide its porky weight. Though the more you approach its limits of adhesion with aggression and less finesse with your inputs, the more its heft begins to make itself apparent.

It certainly looks the part too with its gaping and more aggressive front fascia, which is specifically shaped to improve cooling for the powertrain and beefier brakes. The axle tracks are also wider for better grip with wider wheel arches to accommodate, along with a lower overall ride height, and less ground clearance. Basically, if you don’t get the impression that the IONIQ 5 N is ready to throw a tire-smoking party and invoke grins from everyone involved, then you’re probably dead inside and in need of the serious jolt that the IONIQ 5 N provides.

Braking And Acceleration

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N In Motion at Laguna Seca (18)
Chris Chin / TopSpeed

Mash the pedal and the insta-power delivery not only delivers a manufacturer-claimed 0-60 MPH time of 3.25 seconds, but a complete rework of your facial structure, a core body workout, and an electronically limited top speed of 162 MPH, as the IONIQ 5 N snaps your neck and sinks your body into its racing-bred bucket seats. After lapping the world-famous WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California for a total of three uninhibited loops at speed behind Hyundai N’s own developmental test driver and engineer, Biermann’s expertise and magic clearly made itself apparent in the handling department.

The massive 15.7-inch brake rotors with four-piston fixed calipers up front and 14.2-inch rotors and single-piston floating calipers out back provide more than plenty of stopping power in tandem with the aggressive regenerative braking system. Though one critical note is that the brake pedal feel, particularly between the point where the regenerative braking system in the electric motors transitions to using the physical wheel clamps, is still an area in need of improvement or some getting used to.

Despite weighing close to two and a half tons (4,861 pounds to be exact), the IONIQ 5 N handles remarkably

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Pricing And What You Get For The Money

Here’s what you can expect from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, the most expensive car in the brand’s history.

Performance Specifications

Battery Type

Liquid-Cooled Lithium-Ion

Usable Battery Capacity

84 kWh

Level 2 Home Charging Time

7 Hours 20 Min. (10% > 100% charge)

Rapid Charging Time @ 50 kW (400V)

70 Min. (Manufacturer est., 10% > 100% charge)

Rapid Charging Time @ >250 kW (800V)

18 Min. (10% > 100% charge)

Electric Motor Type

Dual Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSM)


601 HP (641 in boost mode)


545 LB-FT (568 in boost mode)


Single-Speed Reduction Gear

0-60 MPH

3.25 Seconds (Manufacturer Claimed in boost mode)

Top Speed

162 MPH

(Specs sourced from Hyundai)

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N Energy Consumption, Range, And Charging

Even with all this power on tap, Hyundai claims that the IONIQ 5N is good for up to 236 miles of driving range in city conditions, 203 miles on the highway, and a combined average range of around 221 miles. When using the Environmental Protection Agency’s conversion rates for measuring the miles per gallon equivalent, the IONIQ 5 N is capable of up to 84 MPGe city, 72 MPGe highway, and 78 MPGe combined.

For juicing back up, engineers say that the IONIQ 5 N can recharge its 84 kilowatt-hour battery pack from 10- to 100-percent in just 7 hours and 20 minutes on a standard 240-volt AC Level 2 supply. Using a 50 kW or 400V DC fast charger drops that time to around 70 minutes, and using the most powerful charger with a 250 kW (800V) or greater unit can juice up the battery in just 18 minutes.

We didn’t particularly get a chance to test the charging capabilities and functionality or range distances as we were mostly confined to lapping Laguna Seca Raceway and a few short jaunts on surrounding public roads. But Hyundai claims that these charging rates should be sufficient in most cases, including at a racetrack with segmented lap performances, versus long-distance endurance events. If there’s any testament to its range and charging capabilities from this event, none of the IONIQ 5 N’s ran out of juice throughout the entire day, even after being driven the way they were.

To prove that its research and engineering is doable in a track-day setting, Hyundai even officially established its own one-make, one-model professional cup racing series featuring a racing-modified IONIQ 5 N cup car, all to prove that EVs can be just as capable in motorsports and performance driving settings as they can be on the road.

Energy Consumption Data




EPA Rated Economy (Miles Per Gallon equivalent)

84 MPGe

72 MPGe

78 MPGe

All-Electric Driving Range Distance

236 Miles

203 Miles

221 Miles

(Data sourced from Hyundai and EPA)

Interior Design And Comfort

Despite being the performance version of the IONIQ 5, the beauty about the N is that it inherits the same body and dimensions as the standard car. The differences in exterior dimensions only amount with the exterior appointments such as the front and rear bumpers, wider wheel arches, and reduced ride height.

So there’s absolutely no compromise to the IONIQ 5 N’s capabilities as a practical, usable, everyday crossover SUV. Its simple two-box hatchback design and nearly identical size proportions means that the interior is just as spacious and comfortable as a regular IONIQ 5.

Head-, leg-, shoulder-, and hiproom figures are all plentiful, generous, and cavernous with more than adequate space for five adults plus their things. Being the more performance-geared version, the IONIQ 5 N features more supportive and aggressive bucket seats fore and aft. Though despite the sportier seats and interior trim bits, the IONIQ 5 N is just as every bit as comfortable and spacious as the regular IONIQ 5.

Interior Dimensions




39.8 Inches

38.7 Inches

Shoulder Room

57.7 Inches

57.9 Inches

Hip Room

53.9 Inches

53.6 Inches


41.7 Inches

39.9 Inches

Technology And Ease Of Use

Because the inside of the IONIQ 5 N is basically the same as the standard IONIQ 5, minus the changes made to embrace the performance-aimed N theme, its infotainment and driver interfaces are just as easy to get acquainted with, navigate, and use. Such changes include the addition of new N Performance pages to display pertinent information and to adjust specific parameters to the IONIQ 5’s powertrain and electric motors.

For instance, there’s a dedicated “N Drift Optimzer,” which, as you guessed, is a specific drive mode that reworks the power split of the electric motors for a more rear-wheel-drive bias, in case one is feeling the need to summon his or her late Ken Block gymkhana aspirations.

Additionally, the IONIQ 5 N’s technology is more remarkable underneath the skin rather than on the surface. Not only can you adjust the drive modes according to your situation with what seems like an endless amount of options, but you can even enable ICE-car-like behaviors, such as simulated gearing, shift points, progressive power delivery like on an internal-combustion engine, and even engine noises. So, if you accidentally “shift” too high too quickly with the IONIQ 5’s simulated transmission, the electric motors will limit power to mimic the behavior of laboring a conventional reciprocating combustion engine. It may sound gimmicky and all, but engine noises and shift points provide more of a functional aspect than just being there strictly for theater and pantomime.

Otherwise, it’s still as easy to use and navigate as every other 12.3-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system found in other Hyundais and the standard IONIQ 5.

For example, drivers depend on engine noises and physical motions to act as tactile queues for when it comes time to identifying braking and acceleration zones and negotiating racetrack segments. With an EV, trying to tackle a track without these noises and queues makes for a different, if not more challenging experience. By simulating and essentially “faking” engine noises, shift points, and power delivery behavior, it simply makes adapting to performance EV driving all that much easier.

We didn’t get a chance to fully immerse ourselves in the in-car tech, outside the N Performance pages and adjustments, as the focus of the day was to see how the IONIQ 5 N performs at a racetrack. But given that it’s still a Hyundai, we trust that the system is as good and solid to use as any other vehicle in its portfolio. Hyundai engineers say that the N, like the regular IONIQ 5, is set up for constant over-the-air (OTA) updates, which allow them to issue any changes or revisions needed as much of the vehicle’s control systems are all software- and data-based. What a time to be alive.

Cargo And Storage Space

With its 26.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second row of seating, which grows to 59.3 cubic feet with the row down, the IONIQ 5 N inherits the same storage capacities as the standard car. Because of its simple two-box hatchback design and sizable proportions, the IONIQ 5 N is just as practical and usable as a daily vehicle as the regular IONIQ 5.

Minimum Cargo Capacity w/ Behind Second Row

26.1 Cubic-Feet

Cargo Capacity w/ Second Row Folded

59.3 Cubic-Feet

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N Vs. Its Competitors

The 2024 Ioniq 5 N Is Now The Most Expensive Hyundai In America

Hyundai has released pricing and specifications for the North American Ioniq 5 N, and it’s currently the brand’s most expensive model on sale.

How The Hyundai IONIQ 5 N Compares To The Tesla Model 3

  • 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5 N 2024 Tesla Model 3 Long Range
    Model IONIQ 5 N Long Range
    Engine Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSM) Front Induction AC Motor/ Rear Permanent-Magnet Synchronous AC Motor
    Transmission Single-Speed Reduction Gear Direct Drive 1-Speed Direct Drive
    Horsepower 601 HP (641 in boost mode) 394 HP (Combined)
    Torque 545 LB-FT (568 in boost mode) 377 LB-FT (Combined)
    Driveline AWD AWD
    Range 221 Miles 341 Miles
    MSRP $66,100 $47,740
    0-60 MPH 3.25 seconds (boost mode) 4.4 Seconds

Being a strictly performance-bred EV that costs well less than $100,000, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 N is in quite a league of its own. Sure, there are plenty of EVs that are just as fast or faster in a straight line. But none of them offer the full performance package—power, track-tuned suspension, aggressive bodywork, sporting appointments, and all—like the IONIQ 5 N and the ones that do are high-dollar exotic super- and hypercars that cost plenty more.

Thus, there really isn’t any current direct competitor that also offers the same comprehensively rounded package at this price point. The closest one may be the 576-horsepower Kia EV6 GT, though because it’s a cousin to the IONIQ 5 N, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD is more fitting as an unrelated competitor.


2024 Tesla Model 3 Front Side

Like the IONIQ 5 N, the Tesla Model 3 Performance features dual electric motors, one at each axle, to provide all-wheel-drive traction. Though the physical arrangement of the electric motors is slightly different with the Tesla Model 3 utilizing an induction AC motor at the front and a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, like the dual motors in the IONIQ 5 N, at the rear. The total combined output of both is supposedly around 394 horses and 377 pound-feet (official figures from Tesla aren’t yet available).

Straight line performance figures aren’t that far off, with the IONIQ 5 N being faster to 60 MPH by nearly a whole second (IONIQ 5 N takes 3.25 seconds, the Model 3 takes about 4.1), despite weighing some 800 pounds more than the Tesla.

The Tesla also offers more driving range (310 miles versus the IONIQ 5 N’s 221). But what the Hyundai offers that the Tesla and all other EVs at its price range don’t, is its total combination of straight-line performance figures, performance-tuned suspension, chassis, and steering tweaks, all to make an outright performance EV.


Because the IONIQ 5 N is a performance-oriented vehicle whereas the Tesla Model 3 is geared more towards everyday usability and comfort, the Tesla likely scores a little bit higher on the comfort side of things. But that doesn’t discount the IONIQ 5’s level of comfort.

From our brief impressions on public roads, even with the sport bucket seats and firmer suspension, the IONIQ 5 N feels just as comfortable and usable as an everyday EV.


As a whole, the IONIQ 5 N, its standard sibling, and even the Tesla Model 3 are technological marvels with all three being trailblazing EVs during these crazy transition times. So neither of these vehicles are short on technology. The IONIQ 5 N is still a Hyundai both on the surface and underneath, so its experience is going to be a little bit easier and more palatably conventional when compared to the Model 3’s extremely futuristic approach. The Model 3 also has some unique and quirky tech features that you probably won’t find on the IONIQ 5 N, such as Tesla’s highly-advertised pet mode, smartphone and data connectivity capabilities, and controversial semi-autonomous driving aids.

In other words, while a technological powerhouse, the IONIQ 5 N has less of a learning curve since it’s still designed and engineered similarly to a conventional ICE car. Additionally, the most incredible driving technology is the IONIQ 5 N’s ability to mimic the behaviors of an internal-combustion-engine car with a conventional dual-clutch transmission.

2024 Tesla Model 3 Long Range First Drive : Finally Matured Into A True Premium Product

At first glance, the 2024 Tesla Model 3 may not appear different, but it’s the fine details that have allowed it to morph into a much better car.

Our Recommendation For Which Hyundai IONIQ 5 You Should Buy

When it comes to the Hyundai IONIQ 5, there are now only two variants, the standard model and the hi-po IONIQ 5 N. Other than those two, there are no other trims or variants to choose from and thus, the choices are clear. If you want Hyundai’s award-winning IONIQ 5 EV but cranked up (literally) by a couple hundred volts with the help of the former world-renowned chief engineer of BMW M, and you want to show up a lot of your friends at your local track day, then look no further than IONIQ 5 N EV. Quite simply, it’s a new standard and benchmark in both the EV and performance car worlds and hopefully, it’s a sign that the future of EVs doesn’t have to be all that sad and depressing for old-fashioned ICE lovers.


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