Alert members of the B&B know we don’t tend to put much stock into “Of the Year” awards, for reasons with which you lot are intimately familiar. Witness the spectacle of Motor Trend awarding the Blazer EV its SUV of the Year trophy as Exhibit A of our feelings.
Nevertheless, an EV with its wick cranked to 641 horsepower tends to get out attention – as it did the crew of Top Gear across the pond.
Setting up as the most powerful – and perhaps most expensive – Hyundai made to date, the Ioniq 5 N is the first electric vehicle to fly the brand’s N flag and takes to the streets with what’s being reported as a reasonably credible simulation of a twin-clutch automatic transmission. It’s of no small hit of irony that the N crew deliberately infused some of the DCT’s hiccups and burps in attempts to retain an engaging rather than sanitized driving feel. The same goes for its simulated torque curve that’s meant to be a reasonable facsimile of turbocharged gasser engines. There’s even a tachometer which will allow drivers to run headlong into a rev limiter if they forget to shift up.
All of this surely is part and parcel of why Top Gear selected the thing for its plaudits. We all know the fastest way through a quarter mile in an EV would be with an uninterrupted wave of power – immediate admittance to what feels like an infinite well of torque, in other words – but we also know that gearheads aren’t the most rational people on this planet. Most of us crave engagement from our vehicles, explaining why the manual transmission lives on in some of the best cars even if its automatic-equipped counterpart is faster on paper.
Perhaps this is why we chose to spill some digital ink on an award we’d normally glaze over like day-old Krispy Kreme donuts. The new Ioniq 5 N is a tacit admission that people who buy vehicles with outsized performance creds do indeed like some measure of aural (and tactile) feedback whist caning the thing around their favorite circuit. Perhaps entertaining frivolity will become a category in these types of evaluations.
After all, it already is in ours.
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