Hyundai continues evolving away from its roots as a basic econobox brand, and the Elantra GT N Line coming to the North American International Auto Show suggests the Korean carmaker will be delivering a lot more sporty products going forward.
The GT becomes the first American offering to carry Hyundai’s new N Line badge – but it clearly won’t be the last. Globally, we’ve already seen several more models added to the performance sub-brand, Veloster N, i30 N and i30 Fastback N, with more expected to follow.
“Hyundai N models satisfy the needs of performance-oriented enthusiasts with exclusive, custom-tuned powertrain and chassis applications,” said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Planning & Strategy Division.” “N Line is designed for those buyers craving N’s sporty styling cues coupled with performance-tuned suspension upgrades, all at compelling price points.”
As with its competitors, the N Line badge will represent a mix of different enhancements, ranging from largely cosmetic to serious performance. The Elantra GT N Line falls somewhere in the middle.
(2019 Hyundai Elantra: more than a mid-cycle refresh. Click Here for the story.)
While it retains the stock Elantra hatchback’s powertrain, the GT N Line gets enhancements that should make it quicker, especially on a track or tight road course, including quicker steering, a stiffer suspension, more robust engine and transmission mounts and bigger brakes. Add plenty of cool appearance upgrades, including unique front and rear fascias, seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Korean carmaker notes that the engine mounts are 6.3% stiffer, the transmission mounts 24% stiffer, than the stock Elantra GT. The same goes for the springs and stability bars, while the shocks and steering have been recalibrated compared to the everyday GT which was already the sportiest version of the Hyundai Elantra.
Then there are the 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires – which are the only rubber available with the six-speed manual gearbox version of the GT N Line.
The optional gearbox is a seven-speed DCT which is paired to the 1.6-liter turbo I-4. The powertrain makes 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
(Click Here for more about Hyundai investing $388 million into U.S. engine plant.)
It’s not all work, however, the sport model also adding heated leather seats, as well as distinctive interior accents like N logos and red contrast stitching.
As with the standard-issue Hyundai Elantra GT, the hatchback is offered with an optional 8.0-inch navigation-based infotainment system.
What’s next for the U.S. version of N Line isn’t clear, though few would be surprised to see the Veloster model follow.
Clearly, Hyundai is hoping to follow in the tire tracks of key competitors such as Honda and Subaru in appealing to the sport tuner crowd, and the arrival of the 2020 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line will give us a sign of whether its new brand-within-a-brand gets taken seriously.
(To see more about the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup set to debut in late ’20 or ’21, Click Here.)
Pricing for the GT N Line starts at $23,300 for the stick shift model, the DCT adds $1,100. Those figures don’t include another $885 in delivery fees.