In case you aren’t already considering of Hyundai as a succesful efficiency model, beat the frenzy and begin now.
The Korean automaker has established a powerful repute (and gross sales quantity, and market share) constructed on the idea of excessive worth. We’ve seen this mirrored over the previous 20 years by means of growing consideration to high quality, function content material and styling, all whereas sustaining aggressive value factors in opposition to extra established manufacturers.
Hyundai’s subsequent space of focus? Efficiency, as represented by the most recent additions to its efficiency division: N Brand
In case you’re questioning the place the “N” comes from, it’s not an effort to alphabetically snuggle up with BMW’s “M” model, or get in entrance of Audi’s “RS” fashions. Hyundai says it comes from being born in Namyang, Korea (town housing Hyundai’s R&D middle), in addition to the well-known Nurburgring race observe in Germany, the place Hyundai has an embedded check middle. In case you look carefully on the crossbeam within the “N” badge you possibly can see a mild curve, representing the well-known chicane on the ‘Ring.
What Drives Hyundai’s N Efficiency Model?
The N Model begins with a philosophy of “By no means simply drive”, which expands to “do greater than merely drive — get pleasure from each second of it”. The model’s core values embrace phrases like “exhilarating” and “accessible” and “on a regular basis sports activities automobile”, reflecting the concept of making vehicles that elevate the driving expertise with out compromising performance. Firm representatives additionally emphasised the concept of “loads of enjoyable to your greenback, with out spending a fortune”. Hmm, that feels like a well-recognized (and confirmed) method for Hyundai.
How Does the N Model Manifest in Hyundai’s Automobiles?
A classy emblem and considerate model philosophy are wonderful, however how does Hyundai’s N Model manifest within the automobiles you and I should buy? When it comes to product technique, the method begins with devoted race vehicles taking part in Hyundai’s motorsports packages, then flows to halo fashions that function early prototype check beds earlier than touchdown on manufacturing fashions just like the Elantra N, Kona N and Veloster N. It’s not a very distinctive method, as that’s how most automakers leverage their racing and prototype efforts to drive manufacturing automobile innovation. However Hyundai’s been upping its effort on this course of over the previous 7 years.
The preliminary step — constructing devoted race vehicles — has confirmed fairly efficient for Hyundai. In simply the previous 3 years the automaker has claimed a number of wins in a number of racing sequence, together with the 2019 and 2020 World Rally Championship, the 2018 and 2019 World Touring Automotive Driver Championship, and the 2020 IMSA Touring Automotive Producer’s Championship (Hyundai is presently main the 2021 IMSA sequence).
That stage of on-track success has been adopted by a sequence of “rolling lab” (prototype) fashions constructed between 2014 and 2021. These prototype automobiles served because the bridge to quantity manufacturing N Model fashions, beginning with the i30 N for the German market in 2017 and the Veloster N within the U.S. in 2019.
For 2022 Hyundai will add the front-wheel drive Elantra N and Kona N efficiency automobiles to its U.S. product line, giving fans three very totally different fashions to think about in the event that they wish to “do greater than merely drive”. We not too long ago drove the brand new Elantra N and Kona N on each public roads and at Sonoma Raceway, north of San Francisco. We additionally loved a quick autocross stint within the firm’s newest prototype automobile, the all-electric RM20e.
2022 Hyundai Elantra N
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N is the primary N automobile primarily based on Hyundai’s new K3 platform, which permits for a decrease driver’s seat (which interprets to extra headroom for a helmet). The K3 platform additionally permits for bigger wheels, which within the Elantra N and Kona N’s case means 19-by-8-inch wheels. The compact efficiency sedan additionally advantages from distinctive tuning of its electrical steering system to handle torque steer, which Hyundai doesn’t fully tune out as a result of it feels torque steers represents…nicely…torque, and it needs Elantra N drivers to really feel that.
Powering the Elantra N is a 2.0-liter turbo 4 cylinder, providing 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed guide transmission is accessible in addition to an 8-speed dual-clutch automated. Hyundai claims a zero-to-60 time of 5 seconds for this mannequin, and expects it to carry its personal in opposition to the Honda Civic Sort R, Subaru Impreza WRX, and Volkswagen Golf GTI and Jetta GLI
We just like the Elantra N’s exterior styling, which features a distinctive entrance fascia, pink accents, the aforementioned 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear wing spoiler, and huge bore exhaust retailers. The cabin contains a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster and one other 10.25-inch central touchscreen show. Each are below the identical piece of glass, including to the automobile’s premium, high-tech picture. The Elantra N’s inside additionally boasts “N” badging, light-weight seats, alloy pedals, and a particular N steering wheel and gearshift.
Engine tuning for the reason that preliminary Veloster N has widened the two.0-liter’s torque band within the Elantra, whereas the rev-matching functionality of the 6-sped guide makes it straightforward to leverage the engine’s full efficiency on a racetrack. The twin-clutch automated can be fast to shift in guide mode and gives a launch mode. Each transmissions, together with the Elantra N’s bigger, extra succesful brake system, stiffer chassis (by 29 p.c), and assured suspension tuning, made fast work of Sonoma Raceway, with loads of grip and predictable breakaway when pushing past the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S’ spectacular stage of grip.
Maybe essentially the most interesting facet of the Elantra N is the extent of customization it offers by means of its high-tech, N Efficiency show display and vary of settings. Every thing from throttle response to suspension stiffness to transmission habits and exhaust quantity will be modified by means of easy touchscreen controls. Even the automobile’s digital limited-slip differential has a number of settings. And if the usual 276 horsepower isn’t sufficient, a brilliant pink NGS (”N Grin Shift”) button on the steering wheel offers an extra 10 horsepower and extra aggressive transmission shift program for 20 seconds after being pressed (full with a digital show countdown of time left). There’s a 40-second cooldown time required between every press of the button.
2022 Hyundai Kona N
With SUVs gaining popularity on a regular basis, together with the Hyundai Kona’s established fan base, it made sense to provide an N model. At the very least that’s what Hyundai representatives instructed us, and we imagine it given our personal affinity for Hyundai’s small SUV. The Kona N contains the identical engine and transmission specs because the Elantra N, although it solely comes with the 8-speed automated. It additionally options related inside and exterior styling tweaks, bigger brakes and improved suspension and steering tuning.
Hyundai says the Kona N brings excessive efficiency to a every day driving utility automobile, with out compromising performance or flexibility. For instance, the Kona N nonetheless has a roof rack and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat that creates a flat load flooring for max cargo. It additionally contains a glossy roof spoiler housing a classy, raised brake gentle within the form of a triangle.
Just like the Elantra N, the Kona N proved extraordinarily succesful on the racetrack, with that very same large torque band and digital limited-slip differential pulling it by means of corners rapidly and confidently. That is already some of the trendy and fun-to-drive small SUVs, even in normal kind, so we truthfully weren’t significantly stunned at how nicely the Kona embraces its “N” remedy.
When Can I Purchase, and How A lot?
Hyundai hasn’t launched pricing or gas economic system figures for the Elantra N and Kona N, however they need to be in showrooms within the coming months, and we’d guess at a beginning value round $30,000 for each. Regardless of the value, each fashions will embrace Hyundai’s Smartsense suite of security know-how, plus the digital key tech that lets Android people use their telephone as a key, a wi-fi smartphone charging pad, an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, and heated entrance seats.
Hyundai instructed us they don’t need Elantra N or Kona N consumers to have to consider which choices so as to add. In case you purchase an N Model product you solely must resolve coloration and (within the Elantra N’s case) two or three pedals. For colours, the Elantra N is available in 5 shades and the Kona N is available in 4, with N-exclusive “Sonic Blue” obtainable on each.
What’s Subsequent for the N Model? Electrical energy
With the growing push for electrical automobiles throughout the business it’s not tough to think about the place Hyundai will go subsequent, and firm reps confirmed the long run includes pairing efficiency with sustainability. Hyundai started competing within the Electrical Touring Automotive race sequence this yr. And its newest prototype automobile, the RM20e, is the primary all-electric check automobile for the model.
We have been allowed a couple of laps round a good autocross course within the RM20e, which additionally leverages all-wheel drive and torque vectoring to reinforce efficiency, stability and driver management. Will these options ultimately present up in manufacturing fashions? One can solely hope, as a result of with 810 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque the RM20e was an unmitigated hoot to drive. The moment torque that comes from electrical motors, together with all-wheel drive, made it straightforward to rotate the RM20e like a standard rally automobile.
If that is the place the N Model is headed we totally assist the endeavor.