Hyundai has been making strides into the performance sector over the last few years. The Korean automakers started with a Golf GTI-hunting i30N (which we drove and reported on here). A Polo GTI rival has also been launched in the shape of the i20N. Hyundai SA is currently considering its introduction locally. Today the firm debuted a new addition called the Hyundai Kona N.

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A new shape

The Hyundai Kona N is the very first SUV from the company to carry the sloping N of the in-house performance arm. Hyundai brass also took the occasion to hint at future N products and a glimpse of the brand’s future direction for motorsport. You can learn more about that from the video at the bottom of this post.

Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of customer experience division at Hyundai Motor Company. “Our continuously growing and more balanced N portfolio will open new high-performance options, delivering the ‘grin factor’ no matter what the propulsion technology or body type may be.”

Turbo power

The Hyundai Kona N is powered by a turbocharged 2,0-litre engine. The inline four cylinder motor produces 206 kW with 400 N.m of peak torque. Hyundai says the Kona N has a top speed of 240 km/h and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5,5 seconds with launch control activated.

Read our driving review of the regular Kona by clicking here.

Power is sent to the front axle through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The transmission has multiple modes including N Grin Shift (NGS), N Power Shift (NPS) and N Track Sense Shift (NTS). In N Grin Shift power rises to 213 kW. An electronic limited slip differential (E-LSD) distributes power between the front wheels. Incidentally, those wheels  are 19-inch lightweight forged items with high-performance brakes and tyres.

“Kona N is a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch. It breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive. As an N model, it goes beyond the limits of an ordinary SUV,” said Albert Biermann, president and head of R&D division at Hyundai Motor Group. “Kona N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving.” For those who don’t know, Mr Biermann was previously the head of BMW M, so he knows a thing or two about developing performance cars.

Bespoke touches

The Hyundai Kona N has a front lip spoiler, double-wing roof spoiler and side skirts to declare its performance credentials. A wide lower air intake dominates the front bumper and provides additional engine cooling during spirited driving. The body is covered by a model-specific shade of blue.

On the inside there are brand-specific details such as the blue colour accents, sculpted seats, steering wheel, shift knob and metal pedals. There are also a few interesting options from a display perspective. A new 10-inch infotainment and digital cluster system features an exclusive racing head-up display (HUD). The system’s ‘N mode design’ provides game-like experience with digitalised elements that communicate info such as lap time and N track maps. The latter helps place the driver’s location within a circuit along with other information.