2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line Warm Hatch Debuts in Detroit

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2019 hyundai elantra gt n line warm hatch debuts in detroit

When Hyundai announced an “N Line” trim level to complement its N performance sub-brand, we initially presumed it would akin to Chevrolet’s Redline vehicles or Volkswagen’s R-Line. If you’re unfamiliar with these vehicles, they can be summed up by the classic idiom “all show and no go,” and are only a small sample of a broader trend sweeping the industry.

Fortunately, it turns out Hyundai cares about more than just looking good. While we can’t speak for the upcoming wave of N Line products the Korean automaker has in store, we can discuss the Elantra GT N Line — the first of these mid-range performance models, revealed Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The N Line replaces the existing Elantra GT Sport as the sportiest variant of Hyundai’s compact hatch and introduces some assertive styling choices borrowed from the Veloster and Europe-only i30 N.

It does not, however, build upon the outgoing model’s engine. The front-wheel drive GT N Line uses the same 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter as last year’s Sport, which can be mated with the standard six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for $1,100. Those output figures still place the model a class above the base Elantra’s 128 hp and keep it a fair distance away from the Veloster N’s 250 or 275 hp. You’re getting enough power to have fun with, but not so much that you’re stepping on the real N performance sub-brand’s toes.

Based on the outgoing Sport’s specs, we imagine the Elantra GT N Line to boast a 0-to-60 time in the mid 6-second range.

While the motor goes mostly untouched, Hyundai still chose to upgrade the car mechanically. The GT N Line receives much stiffer engine and transmission mounts, updated steering calibration, retuned shocks, and springs that we’re told are 14.3 percent stiffer at the front and 21.9 percent stiffer in the rear. Front and rear sway bars are also modified to further improve handling.

It’s impossible to say if these changes translate into a road-hugging Elantra, but it does prove that Hyundai doesn’t want to take it easy with the N Line. With the manual variant’s inclusion of special 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires (the dual-clutch gets Hankook all-season rubber as standard), we would be flabbergasted if it didn’t feel extra willing to hold onto the pavement.

Hyundai’s SmartSense will be available — offering Smart Cruise Control with start/stop capability, forward collision avoidance with assist, high beam assist, lane keeping with assist, and driver attention alerts. There’s also a technology package that bundles ventilated seats (with power adjustments for the driver), a panoramic sunroof, the automaker’s Blue Link Connected Car System, 8-inch AVN 5.0 navigation display, a wireless charging pad, and an Infinity audio system with a subwoofer, in addition to the aforementioned safety features.

It’s worth noting that those disinterested in the N Line can still purchase the standard Elantra GT, which soldiers on entirely unchanged from last year. You should be able to tell it apart from the N Line easily enough by peering through the windows. Telltale signs include a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather sport seats, and a sporting instrument cluster — all of which include the N logo or distinctive red stitching.

Rather than compete with the brunt of the sport compact segment directly, Hyundai seems to want to bookend it. Whereas the Veloster N can trounce the Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic Si in terms of performance, the N Line Elantra cannot. Instead, it offers an affordable alternative to the individuals considering them — much in the same way that the Veloster N would with something like the Civic Type R.

According to the manufacturer, pricing for the Elantra GT N Line starts at $23,300 for the six-speed (before destination). That’s a completely negligible price increase from the model it’s replacing and improving upon. The dual-clutch is a bit dearer at $24,400 and the standard GT (which uses the weaker 2.0-liter motor and Shiftronic transmission) comes in at $20,450.

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Bobdod04 Bobdod04 on Jan 15, 2019

    I own a 2018 GT Sport, and its great. Seems like this GT N-Line is the exact same car, but with a different badge, revised steering wheel, and shifter. All of the features and specs are the same as the 2018 GT Sport. I have had mine for almost a year and I have only seen one other one on the road, so its kind of cool from that stand point. It seems like dealers didn't stock too many of the GT sports, so there are not many of them around. Hopefully Hyundai does a better job in getting these out to dealers. There were only 4 GT Sports with tech package in a 150 mile radius of me and I live in a major metropolitan area. I get 30mpg in combined driving and it runs great on 87. Fun car to toss around, and its super stable in bumpy corners with the suspension set-up thats exclusive to the sport. I assume the N-line will be exactly the same.

  • MorrisGray MorrisGray on Dec 10, 2019

    How is the clutch and transmission in the manual version? Is there anything better than this for practicality, fun and value?

  • MRF 95 T-Bird As the former owner of an 87 Thunderbird with the 3.8 that was quite reliable and served me well for over a decade I can attest that this Turbo coupe is a fair deal. I used to frequent the TCCOA site for service and parts information and it’s filled with folks who know these cars. Parts for them are mostly right off the shelf Fox body items except for some of the Turbo coupe only items like the electronic suspension items. Just clean up and bring back to the original brushed aluminum finish those nice 16” wheels. Geez not every thing has to be “murdered out” dude bro culture.
  • SCE to AUX Obviously, yes. But they can't think about it for 5 years.A hybrid RAV4-based truck would be very competitive.But the real question is whether Toyota wants to undercut profits by selling such a vehicle. Mavericks aren't rare because Ford can't build them; they are rare because Ford makes more money on their other vehicles and therefore doesn't want to build Mavericks.
  • Redapple2 C2 is the best. C3 next. Then C7 (looking at you jimII).
  • Jeff S Vulpine--True the CAFE rules are for ICE.
  • Gray I grew up in the era of Panther and Fox platforms. If only they developed a good looking two door Conti. The four doors became a cult in their own right. And kept the 351W as a top line option.
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