Coming Soon: The HOT Elantra!
Hyundai is on fire with plans for new higher performance versions of the Elantra. Already announced is the 2021 Elantra N-Line, which is a noticeabe step-up in horsepower, torque and handling capability from the base Elantra. But Hyundai wasn’t content to leave its four-door compact sedan with a just little bit more performance (though it’s also pushing forward with a full line of electrified vehicles).
Next up in 2022 will be the Elantra N that takes its DNA from the Velostra N TCR, which won the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. TCR stands for Touring Car Racing, and to show how serious they are about racing and getting these cars right, the TCR cars are developed and built by Hyundai’s dedicated racing division, Hyundai Motorsport. Look for the Elantra N TCR in a race series soon.
On a beautiful fall day in the Santa Monica Mountains, I had the opportunity to be one of the first wave of automotive journalists to drive the 2022 Elantra N. My brief time behind the wheel on Mulholland Highway in this heavily camouflaged prototype wetted my anticipation for getting it on a track and seeing what it can do. The few corners I took were begging for more speed, but not being familiar with the car and wanting to stay on the good side of Hyundai, I was reluctant to push it too hard.
The 2022 Elantra N will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder mated to either a six-speed manual, or a specially designed N eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic with paddles. Performance numbers are 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. The automatic was quick through the gears, up and down, but the paddles in this prototype were not as quick as was expected. No doubt when the Elantra N hits showrooms in fall 2021, I am guessing they will be lightning quick.
The Story Underneath
The suspension features what Hyundai calls an N Corner Carving Differential, which is an electronically controlled limited-slip differential joined by the rear multi-link independent, electronically controlled suspension. The Elantra N we drove had 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero summer performance tires, and 13.6-inch front and 12.4-inch rear brake rotors.
The interior was comfortable with cloth seats that had extra bolstering for secure cornering. It was also pleasantly racy, beginning with the thick-grip steering wheel, which had paddles and a big red NGS button. On the Veloster N, the NGS feature boosts peak torque through a temporary turbocharger over-boost, with the computer maximizing the transmission response. This over-boost can deliver a 20-percent torque increase for as long as 20 seconds. If the Elantra N is anything like the Veloster N, well then…fun driving ahead!
Being so heavily camouflaged, it was tough to see the exterior details that differed from the base Elantra, but we did spot a few. There will be a larger nose and lower fascia with a predominant splitter. Around back are LED tail lights and a new rear bumper and fascia, with twin exhaust pipes.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N will compete with the less expensive sibling Veloster N, and the Honda Civic Type R.
The next step for Clean Fleet Report is getting behind the wheel of the Elantra N for some serious cornering.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Hyundai.