2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

Hyundai dips its electric SUV into the performance end of the pool.

Light blue 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N parked on a road.Ben Sager for Capital One


Fans know EVs are fast in a straight line, with Porsches, Rivians, Teslas, and other electrics feeling as though they can rearrange time and space. Careening on the asphalt roller coaster of Weathertech Laguna Seca Raceway, the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N has set itself a different challenge: to be fun, frolicsome, and all-day capable on racetracks or knotted roads — more like an old-school internal-combustion performance car and less like a chilly souled EV.

The historic circuit on California's Monterey Peninsula has hosted races since 1957, but it's never seen anything quite like this Hyundai. The same goes for EV shoppers, specifically a niche that sees a base price in the high $60,000s as fair for a superpowered electric SUV that will outpace many smaller sports cars or sedans.

Hyundai Brings Its N Game to the Ioniq 5

Based on the award-winning standard Ioniq 5, the N version takes a name from Hyundai's high-performance N division. Its engineers logged 10,000 kilometers on Germany's famed Nürburgring circuit to develop this racy electric SUV.

Light blue 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N parked on gravel.Ben Sager for Capital One

The Ioniq 5 N becomes history's most powerful production Hyundai, with 601 horsepower from a pair of electric motors driving all four wheels. That jumped to 641 horsepower each time I crested Laguna Seca's blind front hill and pressed an (awkwardly named) N Grin Boost button on the thick steering wheel. The orange switch, similar to the push-to-pass function of a Formula 1 racer, summons extra 40-horsepower bursts for 10 kidney-squeezing seconds. Another setting helps drivers drift the car sideways in clouds of tire smoke, "Fast & Furious" style.

Activating an automated launch-control feature lets the Hyundai blitz to 60 mph in a company-estimated 3.3 seconds, with a 162-mph top speed. To keep the party going, the N version integrates a larger 84-kilowatt-hour battery pack with more energy density. The Ioniq 5's slick 800-volt architecture already puts it among the industry's fastest-charging EVs. Despite the bigger battery over the standard Ioniq 5, this vehicle is claimed by the company to get an identical 18-minute recharge from 10% to 80% at its maximum DC charging pace.

Be advised that the Hyundai's entire package — including sticky Pirelli P Zero tires developed exclusively for the car — is in service of performance, not efficiency. The upshot is a piddling 221-mile driving range, as estimated by the EPA, and a 78-MPGe rating in combined city and highway driving. That compares with a maximum 260-mile range for standard Ioniq 5 all-wheel-drive (AWD) models and up to 303 miles for single-motor versions.

Light blue 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N parked on gravel.Ben Sager for Capital One

Add battery preconditioning that optimizes temperatures for Sprint or longer Endurance settings, and the Ioniq is designed to romp on the track, recharge quickly, and head out for another howling session. Yes, howling: Drivers choose among three digitized soundtracks that play through 10 interior speakers and two exterior speakers. The most appealing to me was the Ignition theme, which mimicked the N division's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Supersonic theme, meanwhile, is inspired by twin-engine fighter jets, complete with an adjustable sonic boom effect.

Most ingeniously, the Hyundai can mimic the engine revving and shifting of a conventional engine and eight-speed gearbox, despite having only a single-speed transmission.

These paddle-activated algorithmic "shifts" correspond to digital sound that rises and falls with simulated engine revolutions. A tachometer tracks these artificial revs on the 12.3-inch driver's screen. You can even bump up against the redline, meaning the maximum engine speed of a conventional car, which then requires a manual upshift to continue accelerating. Grouchy traditionalists may call these gimmicks, but I'd argue those traditionalists are not the audience for this rascally, rule-breaking EV.

2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N model's front performance seats.Ben Sager for Capital One

The Ioniq 5 N Is Styled to Convey Speed

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N looks like fast company; there's nothing stealthy about it.

Compared with a standard Ioniq 5, the N version gets an upsized grille and reworked bumper with active air flaps to boost cooling and aero performance. The body is longer, lower, and 2 inches wider to fit 21-inch forged alloy wheels. Hyundai strengthens the chassis with 42 extra welding points and 6.9 feet of added structural adhesives. A roof spoiler and rear diffuser play nicely with checkered-flag-inspired rear lighting. A bright orange strip girds the lower body like a sizzling saucer rim.

Thickly bolstered, lower-slung sport seats hold passengers firmly in place. The rack-mounted electric steering gets a faster ratio and a pleasingly hefty feel. Actual steering feedback, meaning the sense you have of what's happening below the tires, remains a bit distant, as in most EVs. Yet the Hyundai feels delightfully tossable and frisky, defying a curb weight of 4,861 pounds.

A center console with a wireless phone charger, USB-A and USB-C ports, and kneepads to brace occupants in fast corners replaces the open floor plan of a standard Ioniq 5, creating a more cockpit-like feel. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with Hyundai's suite of well-designed advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). The latest Hyundai Digital Key technology lets users control the door locks or start the car via smartphone or Apple Watch.

View of the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq N model's dashboard and dual display screens.Ben Sager for Capital One

Hyundai Trips Up the Ioniq 5 N With Tech

I left the racetrack for a rip through the rumpled green hills of Monterey and Salinas, including a gallop on the steep Laureles Grade. A BMW 3 Series tried to keep pace with the handsomely faceted Hyundai but didn't stand a chance. As with the Lucid Air or other performance EVs, regenerative brakes are ideal for charging downhill, decelerating, and matching entry speed to upcoming corners without touching the brake pedal.

Hyundai claims a new EV high for regenerative braking power, with up to 0.6 g's of decelerating force. That also helps enthusiastic drivers stay off the enormous mechanical brakes, avoiding overheating and wear. In a nifty bit of engineering, the Hyundai lets dedicated left-foot brakers — a technique employed by some drivers on track — operate the brakes and throttle simultaneously without cutting power.

The Hyundai's highlights come with a lowlight: Performance controls are obnoxiously complicated on an otherwise sparkling pair of 12.3-inch screens.

2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N model's performance screens.Ben Sager for Capital One

Submenus have their own submenus. A short list involves settings for motors, sounds, stability control, shifting, battery, steering, brakes, and more. Launch control offers separate settings for high, medium, or low-traction pavement. That control is exiled in a screen menu rather than close at hand on an analog switch.

The Hyundai lets drivers adjust the percentage of power sent to the front or rear wheels, a design feature likely inspired by AWD rally racers. Yet that onscreen feature was so impenetrable that it took Hyundai's own personnel a good 10 minutes to make it work due to preconditions that locked us out: Not a hopeful sign for newbie owners or the digitally challenged. A pair of steering wheel "N" buttons does help rescue users lost in digital weeds, however, storing custom settings for performance parameters.

Light blue 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N parked on gravel.Ben Sager for Capital One

Big Money or Big Value? It Depends on Your Perspective

That technological stumble aside, the 2025 Ioniq 5 N marks another winner from Hyundai Motor Group — which also includes the Genesis and Kia brands — whose efforts have made it a global industry leader in design, tech, and value.

Depending on one's perspective, the Ioniq 5 N is either dearly priced or a sweetheart of a deal. It costs more than $24,000 above a base version of the Ioniq 5. The price difference over an Ioniq 5 Limited with all-wheel drive is just under $8,000. My test car's striking coat of matte-blue paint and optional floor mats kicked the price up to $68,675.

That's big money for a Hyundai, yet the Ioniq 5 N will run rings around any Tesla Model Y, along with several luxury SUVs with internal-combustion engines that cost $90,000 or more.

Hyundai will seek to bolster its bragging rights by sending a showroom-equipped Ioniq 5 N to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado this year, aiming to set a world record for electrified SUVs. The Ioniq 5 N was also recently named World Performance Car of the Year.

For Hyundai, the hits and the trophies just keep on coming.

Hyundai provided the vehicle for this 2025 Ioniq N review and paid for airfare, lodging, and meals during the evaluation period.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
author photo
Lawrence Ulrich
Lawrence Ulrich is an award-winning auto writer and regular contributor for a variety of national newspapers, magazines, and web sites. He and his territorial cat are Brooklyn-based. Lawrence is also the proud owner of a fast-but-frustrating 1993 Mazda RX-7 twin-turbo R1.