Matt Prior: Should electric sports cars have engine notes?

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N simulates engine revs and gearchanges in ‘Ignition’ mode

How involved would you like to be? You might remember that last year Toyota filed a patent for a battery-electric vehicle with an H-pattern gearshift, so that an electric powertrain would respond like a manual internally combusting car, complete with a clutch pedal that felt like the real thing, even though, like the gearlever, it would be false.

As yet, no Toyota has arrived with this hardware, but Hyundai’s N performance division has taken a similar concept.

2020 Hyundai IONIQ (Image: Hyundai)

2020 Hyundai IONIQ (Image: Hyundai)

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is the first electric product of Hyundai’s N fun division. “For N, fun to drive is the highest priority. Electrification has transformed our lives but [so far] not our hearts,” Till Wartenberg, N’s vice-president, told me before we drove a prototype. “Car enthusiasts are the last group who can be electrified,” he said. I have a feeling he’s right. I like electric power, but it’s quite telling that when I recount the most fun I’ve had in EVs, an original Tesla Roadster, a Renault Twizy and a Nissan Leaf with plastic ‘drift tyres’ at the back all still feature heavily.

Finally, the Ioniq 5 N on a circuit eclipses all of those. It’s meant to be the car that finally sucks enthusiasts in, and part of the way it does so is by giving us the chance to pull on our muscle memory and aural sensibilities.

Read more: Autocar

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