New Details Spilled on Hyundai Veloster N; Additional Performance Variants to Wear N Badge

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
new details spilled on hyundai veloster n additional performance variants to wear n

Hyundai’s Veloster has gone from an oddball offering drivers a reasonably good time on a budget to something that can compete with the Volkswagen GTI and Civic Si. It’s no longer the hot hatch you settled on to save money; it’s a legitimate alternative.

Outfitted properly, the updated Hyundai can hold its own in the hot hatch segment. However, it does not appear to shame any of the veteran entrants. The GTI remains the total package while other models offer their own unique advantages. But the Veloster, specifically the R-Spec with the 1.6-liter turbo, remains in the mix with a leaner price tag.

This changes when the Hyundai’s N sub-brand arrives in the U.S. market.

The Veloster N will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with up to 275 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque, according to Hyundai. This should place it in a sweet spot right above most sporty entry-level vehicles but just below something like the Focus RS, Golf R, or Civic Type R. Reviews of its sister car, the European-market i30 N, have shown it to be slightly lacking in refinement but abundant in character and fun.

On Friday, Hyundai introduced its high-performance N model for the U.S. market at Germany’s Nurburgring, showcasing the variant’s willingness to perform at “The Green Hell.”

The model has its own unique spoiler, rear diffuser, front fascia, grille, side sills, LED headlamps, LED tail lights, high-performance exhaust, larger brake rotors, and functional air ducts (YES!) that promote brake cooling. N-specific 18-inch wheels wrapped in standard 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot SuperSport summer tires also help it stand apart. However, you can order it with a set of 19-inch alloys with 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero rubber if you’d like.

For the interior, the Veloster N offers exclusive N-design front cloth sport seats with additional bolstering, as well as an N-design steering wheel, shift knob, and badging on the sill plates. There’s also some blue accenting here and there to reference the N-exclusive “Performance Blue” paint job. You can also have the car in white, black, or red for the 2019 model year.

The 2.0-liter, direct-injected turbocharged powerplant is larger and more powerful than the 201-horsepower Veloster Turbo by a fair margin. Hyundai estimates 275 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and up to 260 lb-ft of torque between 1,450 and 4,700 rpm. The two-stage turbo system’s intercooler has also been moved away from the condenser and radiator for more efficient cooling of the intake charge.

Hyundai claims the N’s six-speed manual transmission offers a close ratio, short throws, and downshift with rev-matching capability. It also goes to great lengths to explain how hard it worked on making sure the clutch was strong enough to take some real abuse and the ensuring the gearbox felt right.

In fact, there were many things said about how hard Hyundai worked to make sure the vehicle felt fun to drive (and to ensure it was up for a bit of thrashing). The only feature we have mixed opinions on is the electronic sound generator, which enhances the natural powertrain sound for the driver’s benefit. It already has a variable exhaust note that offers crackles and pops when you want it to; digital enhancements seem unnecessary. But we understand this is a pretty common practice in the industry right now.

If the Veloster N is anything like the i30 N, you’ll probably be able to shut that feature off thanks to an insane level of driver customizability.

There’s a trick multi-link suspension that manages load-transfer to keep the weight from shifting too far back on the front-drive hatchback during acceleration (and to prevent dive during braking), an electronically-controlled torque-vectoring system, and loads of customizable performance preferences via the Veloster’s “N Grin Control System.” Larger brakes mean 13.6-inch rotors in the front and 12.4-inch units in the rear. But 13.0 inchers in the front and 11.8 in the back are the standard setup.

Regardless of which options you splurge for, it all sounds incredibly good, and some of that goodness should extend to other models in the coming years.

While Hyundai hasn’t confirmed which souped-up vehicles will carry an N designation, it is building a trim level below that already. Called the “N-Line,” the units will boast unique styling, larger brakes, and should have access to a some mild performance upgrades. There is also the likelihood of N-Line aftermarket accessories for all Hyundai vehicles. From the sound of things, it will basically be the Hyundai equivalent of Mopar.

Unfortunately, there has been no confirmation on which cars will become fully fledged N models with beefed-up powertrains, but the rumor mill claims Hyundai already has something else in the works. The Veloster N will not stand alone forever.

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Dougjp Dougjp on Jul 21, 2018

    I wondered since the first information came out about "N" coming to North America where is there any logic in picking the Veloster to start N with. I mean, there's an Elantra GT (a.k.a. i30N) racing in Pirelli World Challenge since March in North America (it won at Circuit of the Americas in Texas and last weekend in Portland Oregon). Also i30 N (Elantra GT) has been racing in Europe and available for the street in Europe. Meanwhile, the previous Veloster has been widely derided as having poor quality and visibility, and usually only desirable to very young people with smart phones crazy glued to their ears and they think as long as it has any engine in it..... In other words, wrong demographic. Potential hatchback GTi and Golf R types who care about car details would never buy a Veloster, but perhaps an Elantra GT.

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jul 21, 2018

      Maybe because the Veloster is their sporty small car? And gripes about the previous generation are irrelevant since this is the second generation. "Potential hatchback GTi and Golf R types who care about car details would never buy a Veloster, but perhaps an Elantra GT" Well I'm a potential sporty small car buyer (considering a Civic Si, Toyobaru), and I have no interest whatsoever in the Elantra, but the new Veloster is on my radar now. If the GTI were still a 3 door, it'd be in consideration as well. If I were open to a 4/5 door car, I'd be looking at a FiST or FoST, but still not an Elantra.

  • 427Cobra 427Cobra on Jul 23, 2018

    The Elantra Sport is definitely on my radar... reviews have been excellent. Tho it's next to impossible to find one with the 6-speed manual in the L.A. area... and I don't think I'd consider the DCT. I'd consider ordering, if it came down to it... would make for a fun daily driver. The i30N would be overkill for me... I think I'd be happy with the Sport.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).