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Hyundai Explains Why The Sonata Isn't Getting An N Badge

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But it will receive the N Line treatment.

Just last month, an inside source told us we should expect to see two performance variants of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata - an N and an N Line. But at the media drive for the Sonata out in Arizona, Hyundai gave journalists the chance to drive a pre-production prototype of the Sonata N-Line, which is now confirmed to be the only upcoming performance variant of the new Sonata.

Since this announcement contradicts our earlier report, we reached out to Derek Joyce, Senior Manager of Product PR for N models, to ask why the N-Line name was chosen over the full-on N badge. "The Sonata will be an N Line. We have a distinction between our N-Line and N vehicles. N vehicles are truly capable of sustained track activities," Joyce explained.

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Joyce went on to explain that sustained track activities include "braking and thermal," meaning the car can repeatedly lap a race track without overheating the engine or brakes. By contrast, an "N-Line has unique tires, wheels, and suspension, but not necessarily developed for track thermal levels," said Joyce.

"At this time there are only plans for an N-Line Sonata," he added. "That doesn't mean there couldn't be [a Sonata N] in the future, but we can't comment on future products." Essentially, Hyundai took a step back and decided the Sonata wasn't track-ready enough to be an N product, which is why the N-Line name was the more appropriate choice.

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Hyundai
Hyundai

The Sonata N-Line will still be quite potent with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 290 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque going out to the front wheels through a new eight-speed dual-clutch. This will put the Sonata N-Line in the same territory as the Honda Accord 2.0T, Mazda6 2.5T, and Toyota Camry V6. While we are bit disappointed Hyundai doesn't have any immediate plans for a more powerful Sonata N with all-wheel-drive, it seems like the Korean automaker has not ruled out future N models to sit alongside the Veloster N.

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