The Hyundai N Model line up is expanding slowly but surely as the Kona N is the latest to join the performance pack and it serves as the first SUV in this brand. Already, the incredible i30 N has cemented a strong impression to the masses, that it is capable of maximising its abilities of being an exciting hot hatch, and Hyundai believes that the Kona N will somehow be on that same level and deliver that same sentiment, just on higher grounds. They say, “the Kona N is a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch. It breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive”. That last line refers to the new age compact performance SUVs such as Volkswagen T-Roc R which is its main competitor in the B-segment, therefore directing it straight to VWs path and challenging it. After all this is why the N brand exists.
There are plans to further extend the N brand offerings which will see 18 different N and N-Line models that will exist with various powertrains such as electric and hydrogen fuel cell. Many car manufacturers have figured ways to replace everyday petrol-powered cars with EV cars and are now moving on to the performance aspect. It’s a known fact that off the line, electric cars are quicker but straight-line speed, agility and handling is where they lack, so those are the areas that are planned to be addressed.
This borrows the engine out of the i30 N, a 2.0-litre turbocharged GDI engine that produces 276 hp (206 kW) and 392 Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h is achieved in a matter of 5.5 seconds and it has a top speed of 240 km/h. The Kona N straight away obtains an automatic gearbox in a form of a wet dual-clutch transmission instead of a manual gearbox, not available if ever you’re wondering. So why a wet DCT? What’s different and beneficial is that this allows better lubrication and cooling for higher torque outputs as it uses oil in its operation through an electric oil pump.
They have treated this transmission as their pet project as it has been developed inhouse and it comes with various shifting modes. One is the N Grin Shift which also boosts the power output to 286 hp (213 kW), the other two are N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift. They have integrated an E-LSD which they prefer to call it an N Corner Carving Differential. Of course, the suspension has been lowered, stiffened and tweaked to be much sportier and provide the Kona N with a much agile handling.
The normal Kona variant already showed a lot of potential of becoming much more attractive given its quirky design elements. The N division made sure that there will be no subtle looks visible on the body panels. Starting on the front, the main grille with the Hyundai logo, the side air intakes and lower radiator grille are all in black and widened to improve cooling. It has full LED headlights and daytime running lights. The front lip spoiler has a red accent line which can also be spotted on the side skirts and the huge rear diffuser which houses two huge sport tailpipes.
The exterior red accents are a traditional design element for N models together with the double-wing roof spoiler that has a triangular brake light. The body flares have been widened and body coloured to match the sporty look and they house 19-inch N-specific wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres. There is a new additional colour exclusive to N models and it is called Sonic Blue which can be spotted in the interior on these press images.
The aforementioned Sonic Blue colour accents can be seen on the seats, steering wheel, shift knob and metal pedals. Where you will clearly see Blue colour are on the pre-selection N mode buttons located on the steering wheel. And in front of the steering wheel is a 10-inch digital cluster with game-like graphics which change according to the driver select mode you’re in. The infotainment touchscreen is also 10 inches in size and comes with a variety of track-specific features to choose from like setting lap times, and the head-up display can show that as well.
There is a variety of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features equipped and that includes Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Driver Attention Warning and a whole lot more.
There is still no word on when the Hyundai Kona N will be available for sale and whether it will be seeing its way to the South African market.
Source: Hyundai Kona N Press Release