Hyundai is sharing heavily doctored images of the upcoming Elantra N, offering a taste of what its performance arm plans to do when unleased upon the rest of the company’s lineup. Unlike N-Line products, which are more about supporting modest performance upgrades with visual embellishments, N models are basically as hardcore as the manufacturer can build a vehicle while still attempting to turn a profit.
Thus far the formula has only had sufficient time to produce the 275-horsepower Veloster N — a hatchback that seems intentionally designed to dunk on the more reserved Volkswagen GTI. But the Elantra is rumored to embrace the Veloster’s powertrain and a similar personality, resulting in something relatively unique for our market.
The only difference is that it’s unlikely to get the six-speed manual that’s available on the Veloster. Instead, it’s assumed to receive the same eight-speed dual clutch that’s going into the Kona N (below) that’s scheduled to drop this fall. But the manufacturer has confirmed neither in an official capacity and may yet surprise us. Meanwhile, we’re happy to guarantee a brake upgrade (something that’s clearly visible in the teaser shots) and some obligatory suspension enhancements to make the sedan dance a little funkier.
The Elantra N could arrive in the U.S. by the end of the year, or perhaps early in 2022, and is likely to yield a wilder spirit than just about everything else in the segment. It’s also going to be a bit flashier than its N-Line sibling, which is apparent in the teaser photos thanks to the addition of the N series’ signature red trim. Other upgrades include larger, 19-inch tires (wrapped in Pilot Sport 4S tires) and a unique spoiler. The exhaust ports also appear to be a bit wider than standard, which may or may not result in the same cracking and burbling offered by the high-strung Veloster.
It’ll be a delicate balance to maintain, however.
Despite Hyundai proving that it knows exactly how to make an insanely fun automobile with the Veloster N, it’s not as practical (or subtle) as the GTI. The German auto is clearly superior at eating up highway miles in style and comfort, while the Korean model is hellbent on making sure you’re having a good time from behind the wheel. The Elantra may not benefit from being quite so brash, at least where sales are considered. It’s almost a given that it’ll be more powerful than anything else in its segment. But we’re still hoping Hyundai decides to err against the side of caution and make it as crazy as possible, forcing rivals to step up their performance game while it steals the spotlight.
Hyundai has stated that the Elantra N will appear at the New York International Auto Show in August, meaning that its official debut is likely to take place shortly beforehand. Expect more in the weeks ahead.