We’ve been stoked about the new Elantra N ever since Hyundai let us loose in a prototype late last year. Making its global debut Tuesday, the N packs the same hoot-and-a-half rambunctiousness of the Veloster N hatchback with all the style and refinement of Hyundai’s redesigned Elantra sedan.
Under the hood there’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine, sending 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. Hyundai will offer both a six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching, as well as an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The latter comes with the Veloster’s weirdly named N Grin Shift function, which is like Porsche’s Sport Response button — hit it and you momentarily get 286 hp. So equipped, the Elantra N can accelerate to 62 mph in just 5.3 seconds, on its way to a 155-mph top speed. It even has launch control. Awesome.
A limited-slip differential manages power at the front axle and 245/35-series Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires offer plenty of grip at all four corners. Behind the N-specific 19-inch wheels you’ll find larger brakes and everything about this car has been totally amped up. The suspension is stiffer, the steering ratio is quicker and there are a number of selectable drive modes, including a full-on N performance setting accessed by a big blue button on the steering wheel.
Speaking of that helm, it’s small in diameter with a nice, thick rim, and that bright red button is for the N Grin Shift mode. Elsewhere inside the cabin, the N has more generously bolstered sport seats and you can get all the same infotainment tech found in the standard Elantra, including a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and some N-specific performance pages. The Elantra N should have plenty of driver-assistance tech, too, though we’ll have to wait for the official US-spec details, which will be revealed later this year.
We love that the Elantra wears Hyundai’s N-specific blue.
Outside, the Elantra N definitely looks the part, with a heavily sculpted front fascia, bright red side sill extensions and small rear wing. A pronounced diffuser houses larger exhaust pipes and there’s a variable exhaust system, which we fully expect to snap, crackle and pop just like the Veloster N.
However, Hyundai says the Elantra comes with something called N Sound Equalizer which, according to the automaker, “is a virtual engine sound that not only provides driving sounds that represent Hyundai Motorsports, such as TCR race car sounds, but also has an equalizer function that allows the driver to adjust details for each range (whine, throat, bass), with consideration for personal preference.” Hyundai says “this allows the driver to hear a more realistic and dynamic engine sound while driving,” but fake noise is still fake noise.
Hyundai hasn’t released any official pricing information, but we expect it to start right around $35,000, making it more expensive than the Veloster N but cheaper than competitors like the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R . The less-powerful N Line will go on sale first, but look for the 2022 Elantra N to hit US shores in the not-too-distant future. We can’t wait.