Skip to main content

When Dodge cancelled its current generation of the Charger and Challenger, I thought the move was hasty. Why pump the brakes on a unique performance car selling in droves? Sure, EVs are faster. But The Model S Plaid starts at $90k. Now, it’s looking like Dodge bowed out just ahead of a performance revolution that will see horsepower become cheaper than any other time in history.

The Ioniq 5 will be Hyundai’s first EV to get a performance-oriented “N” trim. The “N” will make 641 horsepower. It’s still a proper four-door crossover lugging around an EV battery pack. But with that power going to all four wheels, it can supposedly rocket to 60 mph in a 3.25 seconds. MotorTrend tested the final Charger Hellcat’s 0-60 time at 3.8 seconds. Even the Challenger Hellcat can only pull off 3.5 seconds.

Red "N" calipers on the brembo brakes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N performance EV.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 N | Hyundai

And here’s the kicker: the 2023 Charger Hellcat started at $86,365. Two years later, cars are a bit more expensive. EVs are more expensive still. But the Hyundai Ioniq N comes in at $67,475. EVs are the cheapest horsepower you can get. And this is just the beginning.

I know exactly what you are saying, “EVs are boring!” And you’re entitled to that opinion…after you take a Ioniq 5 N for a spin. Hyundai has pulled out all the stops: Brembo brakes, wider rims wrapped in Pirelli P Zeros, lower suspension, a wider stance, and a slew of driving modes. Leave the fake engine noise switched off, but do opt for the “N e-Shift” function which nails the experience of driving an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters. Of all the big four-doors you can get, this may be one of your better options for getting a little sideways. And one of the cheapest.

What’s intriguing to me is that the Ioniq 5 is far from a performance vehicle. Sure, Hyundai’s done a great job with it. But what if they’d started with a compact sedan? Or a coupe? What if you sacrificed some range (which you can actually do with Hyundai’s 800-volt rapid-charging architecture) for performance? How cheap will tri-motor and quad-motor EV sports cars get?

Love it or hate it, we are on the cusp of a golden age of cheap horsepower. And the future of affordable performance is electric.

Next, find out how the Ioniq 5 outruns range anxiety, or watch Chris Harris take the N trim for a spin in the video below: