New 2021 Hyundai Kona N officially confirmed

Hyundai has gone official with the third addition to its N performance lineup: the Kona N crossover.

Set to be revealed in the coming weeks and go on sale before the middle of 2020, the Ford Puma ST rival joins the recently revealed i20 N and well-established i30 N as the third pillar of the sub-brand’s range.

Official prototype shots reveal key performance-focused styling details including chunkier new bumpers and side skirt extensions, large twin-exit exhaust pipes, a new rear spoiler and a bespoke wheel design hiding enlarged brakes with red-painted callipers.

Confirmed technical details are scarce, but Hyundai has said the Kona N is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and will be offered with an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, dubbed N DCT.

The use of the 2.0-litre engine, likely adapted from the i30 N, is interesting as expectations were that the model would use the 1.6-litre unit of the related i20 N, which puts out 150kW. That was already more powerful than the Kona N’s main rival – the 147kW Puma ST – so it remains to be seen if the model will be offered with the 184kW or 206kW outputs of the i30 N.

Another unknown is whether the model will feature front or four-wheel drive. Every Hyundai N model to date has been the former, but the standard Kona can be specced with four-wheel drive on top models, so it’s entirely possible the brand will leverage that. We do know it will feature a Launch Control system – something substantially more effective in four-wheel drive cars.

Hyundai N also claims it will feature an “emotional sound experience” – likely a reference to digital sound generators to enhance the engine note. Till Wartenburg, head of N brand Management and Motorsport, claims the hot SUV will have “plenty of versatility as well as the driving pleasure like any other N vehicle. Enthusiasts will enjoy taking this car anywhere, from road to the track.”

A bespoke chassis setup will compliment the power upgrade, with stiffer suspension and performance brakes fitted. The interior, too, will receive the usual N tweaks including sports seats, specific trim detailing and highly configurable drive modes.

Lawrence Allan

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