Unveiling The IONIQ 5 N: A Champion's Perspective
IONIQ 5 N: A Racing Expert's Exclusive Experience
Meet Marcus Willhardt, our chief instructor and winner of two best-in-class titles at the 24-hour Nürburgring and the NLS. Being a racing pro himself and with years of coaching experience, Marcus knows cars like the back of his hand. So when we found out that he’d test-driven one of the most interesting additions to Hyundai's N series, the IONIQ 5 N, we had to sit down with him and relieve all our curiosities. Discover firsthand how Marcus, a seasoned driving expert, experienced the first full EV among the Hyundai N series.
What were your first impressions when you got behind the wheel of the IONIQ 5 N? How did it compare to your expectations – including the interior?
My first impression was very skeptical, as I am an absolute petrolhead. But the car really impressed me visually, the flared fenders and the wide track, the diffuser, these small but significant changes to the normal IONIQ 5 are really very well done. From the outside, the car is a real eye-catcher. When I was able to see the changes in the interior, I knew that not much had been left on the standard vehicle, almost every screw had been touched. The steering wheel has even more functions than we are used to from the other N models, the N seats have also found their way into the cockpit, creating a really sporty atmosphere. When I pressed the start button and had less to expect, I had a grin on my face for the first time....You want to know why, then go ahead….;-)
Could you describe the driving dynamics of the IONIQ 5 N? What stood out to you in terms of handling, acceleration, and overall performance?
In my life, I’ve been lucky enough to drive a lot of vehicles with high power and extreme performance. So I had a pretty good idea of what to expect with around 650 hp. However, to date, no EV vehicle had really been able to convince me. So we both rolled off, the car was fun from the first meter, it gives a very direct steering feel, a very balanced chassis tuning and what absolutely impressed me was how the car brought the performance to the road. There is virtually no delay from the moment you step on the gas to the moment you put it down. The way in which the all-wheel drive distributes the drive forces is at the highest level. The IONIQ 5 N has only few rivals on winding terrain, I’m sure of that.
How about the innovative aspects of the car, is there any feature that particularly enhanced your driving experience?
As I said in the first question, the IONIQ 5 N was the first EV that managed to put a smile on my face. Why did that happen, when I pressed the start button, I heard an engine noise, I felt at home....But the IONIQ 5 N has another feature that absolutely amazed me, and I’m sure it will be the game changer in the EV world. Many EV drivers are familiar with the paddles on the steering wheel with which you can adjust the recuperation, the IONIQ 5 N also has these paddles, but you can also “gears” with them, just like in a normal sports car with a combustion engine. It simulates an 8-speed gearshift, and in my opinion this function is really the very best function, it brings back the familiar feeling of downshifting before corners and then upshifting again when accelerating out of them. You finally have a real feeling again, which is what you need in a sports car!
“What absolutely impressed me was how the car brought the performance to the road. There is virtually no delay from the moment you step on the gas to the moment you put it down. The way in which the all-wheel drive distributes the drive forces is at the highest level.”
As a fully electric car, how did IONIQ 5 N perform in battery life, charging experience, and range?
As far as this question is concerned, we will certainly be well ahead of the competition. We manage to drive 2 complete laps under full load on the Nordschleife.
How did the car perform in terms of safety, especially considering the high power input?
That is a very difficult question. What does safety mean in this case? The IONIQ 5 N meets the strictest standards and has the latest assistance systems on board. However, we are talking about a car with 650 hp, and the driver must always be aware of this. You have to be considerate and know what you're doing, it's definitely not a beginner’s car. I would recommend anyone who wants to drive and master a car like this to visit our Hyundai Driving Experience. We make sure that the drivers can keep up with the car ;-)
In your opinion, how does IONIQ 5 N compare to other electric vehicles?
In my opinion, the IONIQ 5 N will be the benchmark in terms of driving pleasure and technical possibilities.
“It simulates an 8-speed gearshift, and in my opinion this function is really the very best function, it brings back the familiar feeling of downshifting before corners and then upshifting again when accelerating out of them. You finally have a real feeling again, which is what you need in a sports car!”
IONIQ 5 N will make its debut at Hyundai Winter Driving Experience 2024, what are your expectations of the car performance on the snow and extreme Alpine conditions?
I’m sure the car will perform significantly better than the IONIQ 5 AWD that we’ve been using for the last few years. We are all looking forward to our first training session with this vehicle in Europe before we hit the racetracks.
Lastly, could you share with our readers what is your one essential advice on handling high-performance car on winter roads to ensure safety?
In winter, you should always bear in mind that there can be many situations that naturally do not occur in summer. Ice and snow are the biggest challenges, but unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all tip for this. However, we are offering our Winter Driving Experience in Sölden again in March. Thereyou can improve your skills under professional guidance. When else do you have the opportunity to drive on 2 glaciers and enjoy this panorama? I can only recommend it to everyone, especially for people who are interested in the new IONIQ 5 N. In addition to the driving experience and the mountains, a special highlight is the impressive quality of the hotel (Das Central) and the culinary delights.