Meet the newest member of the high-performance Hyundai N family.
The Hyundai N family expanded last month with the premiere of the Elantra N, a high-performance version of the popular compact sedan with more power, sharper driving dynamics, and more aggressive styling. Just over a month later, Hyundai has presented the US version. The Elantra N was originally going to make its US debut at the New York Auto Show, but the event was abruptly canceled due to rising cases of the more contagious Delta COVID-19 variant. Rather than delay its debut, Hyundai decided to showcase the US-spec version of the Elantra N online in a virtual presentation.
Powering the Elantra N is a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected flat-power engine generating 276 horsepower from 5,500-6,000 rpm and 289 lb-ft of torque from 2,100 to 4,700 rpm.
The N Grin Shift feature increases the boost pressure temporarily, increasing the output to 286 horsepower for up to 20 seconds. A variable valve system makes the exhaust crackle and pop, but if you don't like the soundtrack Hyundai's N Sound Equalizer can produce virtual engine sounds that simulate Hyundai's TCR race cars but can also be tuned to your liking.
As standard, power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, but an eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic is also available. An electronic slip differential helps manage all that power being sent to the front wheels, reducing understeer, while 14.2-inch brake rotors equipped with high-friction pads provide "best-in-class braking performance." The US version also includes a mechanical parking brake.
For the first time in an N model, the Elantra N uses an integrated drive axle combining the drive shaft, wheel hub, and bearing into one component. Inspired by Hyundai's WRC rally cars, this technology reduces the weight by 3.74 pounds and helps the car cope with extreme lateral g-forces when cornering. As standard, the Elantra N rides on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires measuring 245/35 for increased traction and improved cornering performance.
Other enhancements made to the suspension include dual-compound insulation for the front suspension to manage the ride/handling balance and mitigate NVH, while, at the rear, four-point strut rings and a rear stiff bar help keep things taut. A strut brace is even visible in the trunk. The steering is electromechanical, with the electric motor tuned for consistency.
Aesthetically, the Elantra N is enhanced with a unique front fascia incorporating a low slung lip and Hyundai N's signature red accent. The massive blacked out front end is said to be inspired by the helmet and visor of a racer. At the back, the Elantra N features a wing spoiler, a motorsport-style single-tipped exhaust on either side of the aggressive rear diffuser.
Inside, N branding is applied to the steering wheel, shifter, seats, door scuff panels, and metal pedals. The lightweight sport bucket seats are 0.3 inches lower compared to the standard Elantra seats and the backrests are two inches thinner, resulting in more rear legroom. The unique digital cluster is tailored for high-performance track driving, presenting information such as oil, coolant, torque, and turbo meters and the infotainment display features unique graphics designed to make the driver "feel as if they are sitting in a dynamically moving VR game seat while watching a racing game screen."
The steering wheel not only features the red N Grin Shift button for more power, but also two light blue N buttons. These are the N Custom 1 and N Custom 2 buttons that allow the driver to pre-program their own driving settings in with facors like transmission mode, exhaust tuning, and rev-matching on the manual variant. On the DCT-equipped models, there are two shift paddles on the steering as well.
The arrival of the Hyundai Elantra N expands Hyundai's N and N Line roster to seven models in the US, including the Veloster N and Kona N. Pricing and availability of the US-spec Elantra N have not been announced but we're expecting the sports sedan to go on sale later this year and be priced around the same as its Veloster N sibling, which starts at $32,500 for the 2022 model year.