Hyundai has developed a distinct knack for showing off new products but leaving plenty of questions unanswered, the latest example coming with today’s debut of the new 2021 Sonata N Line.
No longer content to seek out buyers by offering a high-value mainstream product, Hyundai has begun to push into the performance space and the N Line is its mid-range line. In this case, the familiar Sonata sedan gets some distinctive visual tweaks, starting with new front intakes and revised side skirts, then adding a new turbocharged 2.5-liter powertrain.
“The 2021 Sonata N Line will attract more customers to both the rock solid Sonata lineup and our increasingly popular N Line sub-brand,” said SangYup Lee, head of the Hyundai Global Design Center. “Sonata N Line will appeal to customers who desire sporty styling in a sedan package.”
(A Week With: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited.)
The Sonata becomes the third Hyundai model to get the N Line treatment, following in the tire tracks of the Veloster and Elantra nameplates. Don’t confuse N Line models with those simply badged with an N. These offerings, including the Veloster N, get full-on performance treatment with extensive exterior and interior makeovers and significantly more powerful engine packages.
More like the Audi S or BMW M Sport series, Hyundai N Line offerings receive more modest visual tweaks and may not have much, if anything, different to talk about under the hood.
With the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line, you’ll readily recognize the exterior styling of the rest of the sedan’s various trims, including the lower and wider grille introduced on the latest Sonata generation. There are three front air intakes and the distinctive LED light strips that run up the hood. The N Line gets deeper side skirts, along with 19-inch alloy wheels to help give the Sonata variant a more aggressive stance.
(Hyundai punches things up with launch of 2021 Elantra N Line.)
Around back, there’s a black lower bumper, twin exhausts and the unique N Line rear diffuser.
Inside, revisions include dark chrome trim, sport seats and signature N Line red stitching on those seats and the steering wheel. Hyundai hints the cabin will have a “high-tech flair,” but it’s unclear what, if anything, it will add to what’s now featured in the mainstream Sonata line.
Apparently, Hyundai wants to build a bit more suspense before laying down all of its cards. For one thing, its brief press release says nothing about what’s under the hood, however, the automaker previously signaled it will go with a turbo-four displacing 2.5 liters and punching out somewhere around 290 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That’s sent through an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox to the Sonata’s front wheels.
The Sonata N Line will ride 0.2 inches lower than other versions of the sedan and will feature unique dampers, springs and anti-roll bars. It also will get bigger brakes.
(First Drive: 2021 Hyundai Veloster N.)
Other details, such as timing of the sales launch, fuel economy and pricing will, we assume, show up in the next wave of press releases.