The Hyundai Elantra N has become the latest N-badged offering from the South Korean manufacturer, packing 276bhp at 5500rpm from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
Equipped with an eight-speed DCT gearbox, the saloon has an ‘N Grin Shift’ function that boosts power to 286bhp for 20sec, resulting in 0-62mph in 5.3sec and a top speed of 155mph.
The standard, seventh-generation Elantra was launched earlier this year and the N model features dozens of improvements to maximise driver enjoyment. The car’s integrated drive axle - which integrates the drive shaft, wheel hub and bearing - is a first for Hyundai, inspired by the brand’s involvement in rallying.
There’s an electronic, limited-slip differential, a variable exhaust valve system, 360mm brake discs with improved cooling and a launch control system. The Elantra N rides on 19in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Hyundai says the more aggressive front fascia is inspired by “the battle-ready appearance of a driver’s race helmet” and the lip spoiler “conveys a low-slung stance with performance intent”, and while these tweaks are largely for appearances' sake, the company insists the rear spoiler and diffuser offer aerodynamic performance advantages on track.
In fact, the firm has made several changes to pitch the Elantra N as a genuine track-day vehicle as well as a family saloon: the infotainment system displays oil and coolant temperatures, torque and turbo pressure in real time, and there’s a lap timer that records the car’s location and movement, meaning no additional kit is required for it to work.
Performance data can be viewed on the Hyundai N smartphone app and there are plans in place to roll this out to other N models in the future. The seats are bolstered for extra support as standard, although customers can opt for a bucket seat that sits 10mm lower and is 50mm shallower, improving rear leg room.
“Hyundai Motor’s high-performance N brand constantly aims to provide customers with a range of exciting choices for increased driving pleasure,” said Till Wartenberg, Hyundai’s vice president. “Elantra N is the purest expression of our mission to date.”
There’s no word yet on whether the car will be made available in Europe. The standard Elantra isn’t sold here, but Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann previously suggested the N version could be drafted into the company’s European line-up if there was enough demand.
Speaking at the launch of the Kona N, Biermann said: "At this point, the Elantra N is not planned for Europe and other markets, but if you can create enough demand, I will not rule out that it could be reconsidered.
“That could be an interesting next N vehicle for Europe and other markets.”