Hyundai says its N efficiency division is called for its Namyang proving floor in Korea and Germany’s Nürburgring, however the workforce concerned most likely would let you know it stands for No Sleep. For the reason that Veloster N was launched in 2018, Hyundai engineers have been a busy bunch of bees creating six extra merchandise, together with the brand new 2021 Elantra N Line, the extra highly effective Elantra N, which is able to go on sale late in 2021, and three SUVs which are coming quickly.
The workforce insomnia-suffering pace retailers have additionally created Hyundai’s strongest sedan ever, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line. On sale now, it is the primary efficiency model of the model’s fashionable mid-size sedan, and it is seeking to steal some practicality-minded lovers from the Honda Accord 2.0T, Mazda 6, and Toyota Camry TRD. A day spent driving it round Southern California, tells us it is adequate to just do that.
Behind its massive blacked-out grille is a brand new turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four shared with the Genesis G80 and GV80. The turbo 4 can also be shared with the Sonata’s platform mate, the Kia K5 GT. Within the Sonata, it pumps out a beastly 290 horsepower at 5800 rpm and a burly 311 pound-feet of torque at simply 1650 rpm. That is 99 extra horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque greater than the Sonata’s naturally aspirated 2.5-liter and 110 extra horsepower and 116 pound-feet over the Sonata’s out there 1.6-liter turbo 4.
To get there, engineers fortified the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter’s block, built-in its exhaust manifold into the cylinder head, lowered the compression ratio from 13.0:1 to 10.5:1, and bolted on a turbocharger to swell the consumption with increase.
Hyundai additionally matches its new eight-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission, a gearbox that additionally pulls responsibility within the Veloster N, the Kia K5 GT, and within the upcoming Elantra N. Developed in-house, the transmission has a moist clutch pack, is correctly responsive, shifts shortly and easily, but it surely would not really feel fairly as speedy and snappy because it does within the Elantra N. The primary 4 gears are tightly spaced and nicely matched to the engine’s torque curve, which is excessive and flat to 4000 rpm. There’s some severe midrange energy right here, and the massive four-cylinder pulls nicely to 6250 rpm.
To cut back the time to 60 mph, Hyundai developed a launch-control program that makes drag racing this front-wheel-drive sedan straightforward. These shut ratios imply that second gear is completed by about 50 mph. The N Line feels faster than the Toyota Camry TRD, which hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds in our testing. If it seems to be faster than the Accord 2.0T computerized’s 5.4-second time, it could possibly be the quickest front-wheel-drive mid-size household sedan on the market, however we cannot know till we get it to our take a look at observe.
Sadly, there is a draw back to all that energy. It has been some time since we have complained about torque steer, however heavy purposes of throttle are felt by means of the Hyundai’s steering. It would not flip the clock again 20 years, altering lanes by itself on the hit like a supercharged Pontiac Bonneville SSEi—not even shut—however you may know you got a front-wheel-drive automobile each time you set your foot down.
All that energy churning by means of the entrance wheels is obvious on a good mountain highway. Regardless of these meaty Continental Premium Contact 6 summer season tires sized 245/40R-19 (Pirelli P Zero all seasons are customary), the Hyundai has significantly extra oomph than ahead chew. Have interaction Sport mode, which disables the Sonata’s traction management, and it will spin its entrance tires out of tight second-gear corners, producing swish whiffs of white tire smoke that journey up and over the windshield. It is not as enjoyable because it sounds because the tires scream and squeal for all times. Do not hearken to their pleas to decelerate. Maintain urgent, and the Continentals show they’ve extra grip to present.
The N engineers additionally retuned the chassis with considerably stiffer powertrain mounts, firmer dampers, and thicker anti-roll bars. The trip high quality is sporty however snug, and there is greater than respectable lateral grip and steering really feel. The Sonata N Line is able to actual tempo within the hills, understeering solely mildly if you overcook a good nook, but it surely’s happiest in quicker open sections, the place it could actually stretch its legs and put its energy down.
Bigger 13.6-inch entrance and 12.8-inch rear brake rotors are additionally a part of the deal. The pedal is reassuringly agency round city, they usually really feel good within the hills proper as much as the purpose after they overheat. The N Line weighs greater than 3500 kilos, and it pulls like a freight practice down the straights. The brakes get a exercise. For those who’re actually on it, they’re cooked in only a few miles.
Tweaks to the sedan’s inside and exterior are gentle however significant. In contrast to TRD, which has dressed the Camry quick and furiously, Hyundai has taken a extra conservative path whereas nonetheless following the sports-sedan gown code. There are a number of small N Line badges scattered about and a brand new entrance fascia with three massive air intakes. Its rump is redressed with 4 exhaust pipes, a black decrease bumper, and, in fact, a diffuser. The wheels have a posh 20-spoke design.
Inside we anticipated the three-spoke steering wheel from the Elantra N, however the Sonata sticks with the Sonata’s four-spoke unit. The push-button shifter additionally carries over from the common Sonata. The N Line bits are restricted to a pleasant set of sports activities seats wrapped in leather-based and suede. Normal options embrace a digital gauge cluster that shows easy spherical dials, a giant 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, a Bose premium audio system, a panoramic sunroof, and Hyundai’s digital key, which may flip your cellphone into the automobile’s key.
At $34,195, it is not the most affordable possibility within the class, however the engine and chassis make it a robust worth. The issue is that the identical cash will get you a rear-drive 255-hp Kia Stinger. We might decide the Stinger over the Sonata N Line, and we do not even need to lose a lot sleep on that selection.
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