Opinion: the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N’s fake gear shifts are… actually quite fun

The electric hot hatch prototype came to Speed Week and won over the cynics

When I drove the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N on ice earlier this year, a crucial element was missing. Actually, several were. Friction, for one thing. I gained no meaningful knowledge of how the car rode, stopped or handled. I couldn’t see how it looked, because it was still wrapped in disguise.

But mainly, the noise was missing. ‘Noise, in an EV? Course there wasn’t any,

you fool’ shouts the corner of the internet which comments before engaging brain.


The Ioniq 5 N is a very noisy EV. In N mode, it summons various soundtracks, from one imitating a modern turbocharged hot hatch roar to more futuristic spaceshippy tones. N mode also brings up a ‘rev counter’ on the instrument readout, complete with wavering needle, redline, and the re-gen adjustment paddles behind the chunky steering wheel have all of a sudden become ‘gearchangers.’

So, you can hit an imaginary redline. You can bang up through the imaginary gearbox or blip some imaginary downshifts. The noise barks and crescendos. The revs flare and blip. And though the cynical part of your brain is screaming ‘this is all fake, rendered purely for my entertainment’, the petrolhead part of your brain won’t care. Because it’s having more fun than it could in a silent EV.

Read more: TopGear

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