Fans of the Korean carmaker Hyundai might be familiar with the company’s N arm or performance division. For those who aren’t, Hyundai’s N is synonymous to BMW’s M or Mercedes’ AMG division. In simpler terms, N moniker is blessed upon the cars which are faster and more capable around the bends as compared to the standard models. They are also visually sportier and meaner at the same time. While we are patiently waiting for Hyundai to launch the i20 N-line in India, the brand has us drooling over the recently unveiled Kona N. It is the first “SUV” in the fold to get the N badge.
With the unveiling of the Kona N, Hyundai has also announced that it is planning to expand its N and N-Line range to 18 models by the end of 2022.
Let’s get down with the numbers first because they are surely juicy and interesting. This Kona N is a lot different than the Kona EV that we have here. This performance-oriented SUV has no intention of saving the earth. It is developed with purely one intent: Go fast and stay fast in the corners! The Kona N packs a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 280PS of power and 392Nm of torque. The 8-speed wet dual clutch transmission, features three modes: N Grin Shift (NGS), N Power Shift (NPS) and N Track Sense Shift (NTS). With the gearbox set to NGS mode, there’s an extra 10PS to be had. The N Grin button has a dedicated option on the steering wheel. It is essentially a boost that the engine provides for 20 seconds. This will be quite helpful while chasing for lap times or even for quick overtakes. After using this boost function once, the driver will have to wait for an additional 40 seconds before using it again.
There is a high level of customisation being offered with the drive modes – Eco, Sport, Normal, Custom, and N. One can also configure the operating parameters of the engine, Electronic Stability Control, exhaust sound, and steering. Launch control is also standard which helps make quick gateways by limiting the torque supplied during start. The Kona N is capable of doing 0-100kmph in just 5.5 seconds while pushing on further will see the speedo climb to 240kmph. It also comes with an electronic slip differential to ensure that power is sent to the wheels with maximum grip. The stiffer body along with the extra welding points make it stiffer, therefore less body roll during hard cornering.
Aesthetic and aero
The Kona N is marked out from standard Konas primarily by its prominent aero package, colour-coded bumpers and wide-track wheel designs. It’s available in an exclusive shade of Sonic Blue – inspired by the N sub-brand’s trademark Performance Blue – which is extended to accents throughout the interior. The large exhausts along with the diffuser-like detailing and faux vents mean the rear-end is the easiest takeaway for the sportier Kona.
Kona’s infotainment system has been updated as well. It’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen along with digital displays that show lap times in sport or ‘N’ mode.
The equipment list also includes a head-up display, an N-exclusive sport steering wheel with two customisable N buttons, Alcantara inserts throughout the cabin and new sport seats among others. Then, you’ll also find ‘N’ logos embossed on the gear shift, hand brake, door scuff, and seats.