It is almost deranged in these times to debut a 276-horsepower, non-hybrid, six-speed manual car, but that is what Hyundai has done this week with the 2022 Elantra N. There is also an eight-speed dual-clutch available. The most charming feature is the N Grin Shift [sic] which boosts a further 10 horsepower.
Hyundai says the zero-to-62-mph number is 5.3 seconds, and the top speed is 155 mph. (That’s the same as the rather hardcore Honda Civic Type R LE.) The engine is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder. This car is something that auto journalists drew up, the kind of car that checks off every enthusiast box but also probably the kind of car that won’t sell in great numbers (in the U.S.). Per Hyundai:
Elantra N’s spirited performance is further supported by N Corner Carving Differential (e-LSD, electronic Limited Slip Differential), Variable Exhaust Valve System and Launch Control—all of which are specialized, high-performance features that are applied as standard. For DCT models, N Grin Shift (NGS), N Power Shift (NPS) and N Track Sense Shift (NTS) are provided as standard features to maximize driving pleasure.
To shine in the corners, Elantra N provides robust braking performance. The 360-mm brake discs are equipped with high-friction material pads to ensure best-in-class braking performance for high-performance vehicles. Furthermore, a cooling hole is applied to the dust cover along with a brake air guide structure to improve cooling efficiency and the area is also optimized to vent heat from braking friction. Attention has been paid to every detail so that consistent braking force can be maintained even in harsh driving conditions.
And if you needed a reminder that engine sounds in modern cars are almost completely artificial:
Elantra N adds a special feature for driving pleasure. N Sound Equalizer (NSE) is a virtual engine sound that not only provides driving sounds that represent Hyundai Motorsports, such as TCR race car sounds, but also has an equalizer function that allows the driver to adjust details for each range (whine, throat, bass), with consideration for personal preference. This allows the driver to hear a more realistic and dynamic engine sound while driving.
In addition, the variable exhaust valve system, which delivers N’s distinctive ‘popcorn’ and ‘bang’ sounds, now uses a linear control method to reduce the booming sound during idling while maintaining the distinctive N exhaust note for the driver’s enjoyment.
This is the global debut, which means that the details might be a little different for the U.S. model. Also still in question is the price, though you can expect it to be somewhere in the $35,000 range, given that the Veloster N starts at $32,250 and the Civic Type R starts at $37,895. I’m guessing this car is something of a loss leader for Hyundai, but I’d be happy to be wrong.