The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Is the First True Enthusiast EV

Let’s cut to it: electrons have won the go-fast arms race, but exactly zero performance EVs have strummed enthusiasts’ heartstrings. Not the Taycans, Teslas, i4s, or Sapphires. We’re awed by EVs’ raw power, thrilled by their spec-sheet prowess, cosseted by their quietude, but never head-over-heels.

With the 2025 Ioniq 5 N, Hyundai promises something different: An EV that’s actually fun to drive. An EV you’ll love. We sent the I5N cannonballing down Laguna Seca’s front straight to find out if Hyundai’s ideas about smile-inducing EV were any good. Then we took to NorCal’s canyon roads to double check Hyundai’s work.

Quick Specs2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
Battery84.0 Kilowatt-Hours Lithium-Ion
Output641 Horsepower / 545 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH3.4 Seconds
Weight4,861 Pounds

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5N

From the first hit of acceleration, hammering toward Laguna’s right-hand turn three, the 5 N proves its stat-sheet bona fides. Like every performance EV, the Ioniq 5 N is a straight-line ICE killer. Dual motors lay down 601 horses and 545 pound-feet. Expect 60 mph from a stop in just 3.4 seconds (according to Hyundai’s conservative claims), and a quarter-mile time below 12 seconds (based on our own bench racing). Top speed is limited to 162 mph.

These figures pair to some genuinely exciting tech, much of it slathered in oddball marketing nomenclature; N Grin Boost, which sounds like the vigorous setting on some Japanese bidet, is actually a push-to-pass button. “NGB,” as the American marketing folks smartly call it, spikes battery power in 10-second sprints, offering 641 hp and 568 lb-ft.

NGB wouldn’t engage entering Laguna’s front straight, right when you need every fizzing electron. Then NGB failed again and again down the length of the straight. The I5N’s central screen relayed a message that conditions weren’t met to unload the batteries. Later, on public roads, I had no problem deploying the system. Strange.

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At any rate, the 5N felt only marginally faster with push-to-pass engaged, but anyone who’s harassed a Porsche Turbo through every corner at a track day, only to get dropped on the straights (and denied a point-by), will lament N Grin Boost’s unreliability.

Another oddly named philosophy—N Corner Rascal—is shorthand for how the 5 N’s drivetrain shuffles power to the road. Like the hallowed Mitsubishi Evo, the 5 N can send nearly all its power to the rear axle on the fly. Even more, there’s a screen that offers customized torque splits between the front and rear, paired to an e-LSD at the back.

Hyundai brass evoked the Evo namesake during a pre-drive brief, then doubled down with repeat mentions of Hyundai’s WRC program. Their basic message: the I5N’s tech was designed to make your fleshy bits go tingly in corners.


Pros: Track-Ready, Engaging, Fast As Hell

Mission accomplished. There’s an immediate snap, felt through the vehicle’s steering, when you nose the I5 N into a corner. The car’s very bones, down to the body-in-white, were reinforced and stiffened to improve torsional rigidity with an eye to improved cornering. Bushing materials in key locations like the steering rack were selected on the basis of driver engagement, not isolation, a Hyundai rep told Motor1.

You feel those choices in every corner. Most modern electric steering racks offer a hyper-quick steering ratio in place of snappiness and huge steering effort in place of a feelsome quality that tells you exactly how a car’s nose loads up at turn-in. Hyundai’s system is an example of the better qualities.

And in that qualitative sense, the I5N is a legitimate track-day contender to something like the BMW M4 Competition xDrive. While the BMW has the ultimate advantage in lap times, the I5N gets damned close, and communicates that little bit better with its driver, despite its immense mass.


That weight never exits the equation, especially at a race track. Braking into Laguna’s Andretti Hairpin demands huge real estate. But the I5N’s 4,861-pound curb weight feels beautifully managed, never overwhelming. A glut of microprocessors no doubt rein in the Hyundai’s heft, but gigantic brakes, a five-link independent rear suspension, and the 275-section Pirellis front and rear give the I5N velvety, predictable manners on the track.

An 118.0-inch wheelbase allows for easy-to-catch slides when your full-throttle corner exit runs against the curbing to the outside of turn 2. In those moments, I get the sense there’s enough balance baked into the I5N to make its “N Drift Optimizer” software redundant.

Speaking of modes: there’s an absolute boatload. Adjustments for brake regen, steering, suspension, power delivery. Everything. Call it rolling choice paralysis. The people who own these things might come to enjoy the minutiae. But I get the sense that, were I to buy an I5N, I’d fidget with the menus for a day before landing on a “good-enough” setting forever.


Cons: Low Range, Marmite Looks, Infotainment Overload

But there’s a pair of settings that must be left on always. One selects the I5N’s active sound and the other simulates an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. These both sound like gimmicks. Instead, they’re game changers.

I know, I know. I KNOW.

Nobody rolled their eyes harder at the prospect of fake engine noises and fake shifts in a nearly 5,000-lb. EV hatch that looks like Bertone’s Chinese takeout box. I came to the experience with an eye roll, but left it with absolute reassurance: this is exactly what EVs need.

Eight interior speakers and an exterior speaker at each end of the car roughly simulate a turbo-four’s basso, inside and out. The speakers are powerful enough that if you lean against the Ioniq while it’s “idling,” the simulated exhaust note resonates up through your arm, raising the hairs on your neck.


Even if it’s pandering. Even if it’s inauthentic. Even if it’s synthetic. It’s simply better. Better than the whooshy future Star Wars noises emanating from every other EV on the market. Better than silence. Audible engine feedback is central to the enjoyment of driving. I didn’t understand how much noise mattered until Hyundai did an impeccable job of imitating it. This is a seamless, masterfully calibrated system, because anything less would sink the idea.

Every last performance EV maker should take notes from Hyundai here. Leave these cars silent for normies. They don’t care. But any EV aimed at a canyon switchback should offer an engine note blaring through the speakers. An F1 V-10, a blatting turbo-four, a cross-plane V-8. Mix it up. I can’t live without engine sounds in an EV anymore.

Same goes for the shifts. Hyundai’s speakers and drivetrain perfectly imitate the burble *pause* blat burble sequence of a double-clutch and a turbo-four. It’s uncanny, and at speed, indistinguishable from the sensory experience of real thing.

Those shifts also provide the dynamic context your brain expects for lapping a racetrack. In most EVs, which have a single gear, you rely entirely on intuition to negotiate corner entry speed. By imitating physical gears and never letting the veneer drop—the car won’t “shift” unless the driver dictates it—you can brag about entering a high-speed sweeper “at the top of fourth,” even if you were really lugging low revs.

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I can already sense readers’ reluctance while reading this. My only suggestion is to give it an honest shot. You’ll be surprised. Promise.

From a performance and engagement standpoint, the Ioniq 5 N is ready for track days. Whether the track is ready for an EV is another matter entirely, one I’ll cover in a follow-up piece later this week. But the I5N is equally suited to fast road use.

The 84.0-kWh battery provides 221 miles of range. It’s not a groundbreaking figure in 2024, and I’d expect less if you’re driving like a loon. But the I5N’s 800-volt architecture puts this Hyundai on par with the best EVs on the market, offering a 10-80% charge time of just 18 minutes.

On a California canyon road, the I5N feels steady on the rolling, warp-speed straights. It digs into hairpins on feathered brakes without pushing, nosed down on the compliant front end, like it’s after a pavement truffle. The simulated shifts and sounds enhance the experience here too, but perhaps not as much as on the track; I’d still keep them on.


Its $66,100 MSRP (plus $1195 destination) slots this Hyundai into a competitive section of the market, where German badges and go-fast Teslas abound. There are no options to select outside a paint color, just one configuration for the US market. Given the breadth of its talents, civility, and objective capability, I’d call the Ioniq 5 N a bargain in the performance EV space.

While many EVs could match or exceed the I5N’s pace over a single lap, the Hyundai is deeply optimized for track work, from its race-y seats, to its heavy duty cooling, and endurance-oriented battery management. It means you’ll have a far better track day than in a Tesla Plaid product, so long as you’ve got fast-charging infrastructure at your local road course.

Most people don’t, however.

That means the I5N isn’t terribly useful as a track-day special, even if it’s a very good one. Not until race tracks catch up to Hyundai’s ambition. Until then, the Ioniq 5 N, with its simulated engine noise and gearbox, has at least produced a meaningful leap forward for EVs. It’s bridged the gap between silent detachment and the experiential aspects of driving we love.

For that, we adore it.


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2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
MotorTwo Permanent Magnet Synchronous
Output641 Horsepower / 545 Pound-Feet
Drive TypeAll-Wheel-Drive
Battery84.0-Kilowatt-Hour lithium-ion
Speed 0-60 MPH3.4 Seconds
TransmissionSingle-Speed Automatic
Maximum speed162 Miles Per Hour (Electronically Limited)
EV Range221 Miles
Charge Time10-80% in 18 Minutes @ 350-Kilowatt DC Fast Charger
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume59.0 / 27.0 Cubic Feet
On SaleNow
Base Price$66,100
As-Tested Price$67,295