The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is an EV that simulates an ICE driving experience

EVs are brilliant for city centres, but when you want that special driving experience, you’re still going to have to turn dinosaurs into carbon dioxide.

By Dhruv Behl | on June 23, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

But isn’t that just an admission that EV’s aren’t especially exciting? Hyundai’s high-performance version of their brilliant Ioniq 5 EV is giving it everything in an attempt to prove otherwise. It even takes on the brand’s hallowed ‘N’ moniker. Curiously, though, it gets a mode in which it mimics an ICE powertrain – specifically a 2.0-litre turbo-four mated to an 8-speed box.

After all, it’s not merely instant acceleration – the EV party trick – that defines a driving experience. It’s the pops and bangs; it’s the crescendo as it revs to the redline; it’s the shove in the back each time a subsequent ratio is selected in the gearbox; it’s that odd time when you have the engine bouncing off the redline because it catches you off guard with how fast it revs. In addition to acceleration that assaults your inner ear, you need the aural experience to tingle your spine and tickle your ear drums.

I recently spent some time with a Tesla Model 3, and while I came away incredibly impressed with it objectively – it was stupendously fast and immensely capable – but it was far from being memorable. It was a great way to get from point A to B in the fastest and most efficient way possible, but it was a driving experience that I was forced to appreciate with my head rather than my heart.

Perhaps the marque that’s best suited to the EV experience is Rolls-Royce. After all, for a century, their ethos has been to insulate the occupants from the driving experience. One of the most famous taglines ever was written by advertising legend David Ogilvy for Rolls Royce, when he highlighted the observation that: ‘At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this Rolls Royce comes from the electric clock.’

But I would still take mine powered by an internal combustion engine. You see, one of the most pleasing automotive sounds that I’ve ever experienced is something as seemingly innocuous as the starter motor from the previous generation Rolls-Royce Phantom. It just had a precision and sense of occasion that’s hard to describe. And then there’s the science and art that goes into making the naturally aspirated V12 feel as seamless as possible. It’s a mechanical symphony that I simply can’t get enough of.

Also Read: The Greatest Machine That I’ve Driven Over the Past Two Decades is…

Similarly, at the other end of the spectrum, is the Mercedes Benz G-Wagen. It’s as butch as it ever was! The doors still feel as though they belong to a bank vault. And you still get the sense that you’re the King of any terrain – whether the high street or the jungle trail. So, it’s only fitting that it should be powered by a diesel engine. Of course, the modern one is incredibly refined, clean and efficient. But now there’s an EV version, and it has just a 240-mile range. Of course, the G-Wagen has gotten so expensive that no one uses it to cross continents anymore, but it would be nice to know that it could if still called on to do so – which is why 240 miles just doesn’t cut it. Moreover, a G is meant to feel mechanical, not synthetic and appliance-like.

So, if it’s an emotional experience that you’re after, ICE is still the answer. EVs are brilliant for city centres, but when you want that special driving experience, I’m afraid you’re still going to have to turn dinosaurs into carbon dioxide on occasion… or rather, for it to feel like an occasion!

Tags: Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

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