By on August 19, 2020

Perhaps feeling that this would be its last opportunity to woo American midsize sedan buyers, Hyundai pulled out all the styling stops when it crafted the current-generation Sonata. Heavy on lines and curves and sporting some impressive front-end lighting, the Sonata makes the Camry and Accord look stodgy by comparison.

But the automaker didn’t stop there. It went to work crafting a hotter Sonata — a variant that’s almost here. And thanks to someone’s mistake and another person’s quick reflexes, we can see what that sedan will look like.

Official images of the upcoming Sonata N Line appeared on The Korean Car Blog this week, revealing the turbocharged performer in full. Sporting a revised front fascia with a little more aggression down low and N Line badging in the passenger-side corner of the grille, the N Line retains the front and rear air deflectors aero-enhanced stock Sonatas.

Out back, dual chrome exhaust tips protrude from a revised lower bumper. Nineteen-inch wheels fill each well, shod in grippy low-profile rubber. Inside, N Line-badged seats greet the driver and front passenger.

For Hyundai products lacking a full-on N variant, N Line represents a top-of-the-line offering. It essentially replaces “Sport” models. And so the Sonata N Line boosts the model’s horsepower game, coming equipped with a turbocharged Smartstream 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. This 2.5L power, which happens to be less than offered in the Genesis lineup, routes to the front wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.

While the Sonata N Line offers up a more compelling sporty family sedan package than Hyundai fielded in years past, the current-generation Sonata has proven unable to turn back market forces. Arriving for the 2018 model year, the Sonata saw its sales continue a downward slide. Whereas Sonata sales topped 225,000 in the U.S. in 2011, volume amounted to just 87,466 units in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

[Image: Hyundai]

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21 Comments on “Hyundai Sonata N Line Leaked...”


  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    At least there’s no CVT in this version. But with sedan sales drooping in the US market, which market is the main focus for this souped-up Sonata?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      People who have responsibilities but still like to have a little fun on their commute. Not everybody can have a track toy that they only drive on weekends not everyone can drive a Miata or a Corvette because they occasionally have to pick up their kids at school.

      • 0 avatar
        turbo_awd

        Agreed – if I couldn’t afford my Stinger, this would probably be on my shortlist.. I need something that can hold 4 people for a road trip. Wife’s GTI is a bit small (esp. trunk), minivan is no fun to drive..

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The I4 Stinger might be the fly in the Sonata N-Line ointment.
          It is getting this engine (likely with a higher output) and right now a RWD GT-Line can be had for about $28K with an AWD at $32K. Now maybe the mild refresh will raise real world pricing but unless you or your passengers are especially tall or your Hyundai dealer is amazing I think the Stinger makes a strong case.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            You always got to remember that the way the Hyundai Kia merger was done they’re not brother and sister, more like cousins in a rivalry with each other.

            Its more like when GM divisions had strong autonomy. You can borrow engineering and parts but they don’t seem to be worried about cannibalizing each other’s sales.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Stinger equipped with the 2.5T will still be pricier comparably equipped.

            Plus both the N-Line and the K5 GT have more passenger space.

            Considering that the Sonata has the highest ATP for its segment even without the pricier hybrid and N-Line variants, think it bodes well for buyers willing to spend more on those new variants (esp. if the N-Line is as good as MT thinks it is, with the hybrid also getting high marks).

            Comparatively, seems like the N-Line and hybrid Sonata are better than the standard Sonata in relation to the competition.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Stinger equipped with the 2.5T will still be pricier comparably equipped.”

            We’ll see. Like I said right now the base engine Stinger is available for $28K-$32K depending on drive wheels. And there’s only so much higher that transaction price can go before it starts slamming into the 3.3TT. MT might love the N-Line in a bubble but it could lose its luster if it is only a minor move to get into a RWD car.

            People may end up preferring the mid-sizer’s higher roof or styling or NVH or whatever but I’d suggest anyone interested in a performance trim Sonata or K5 to check out the Stinger too.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Not saying that there won’t be some cross-shopping, but the FL GT-Line will likely see a bump up in price with lower discounts than the current MY).

            And it’s not like we the N-Line and K5 GT won’t be seeing their own discounts.

            And a fastback is simply more of a niche bodystyle, with the majority of buyers still preferring a trunk over a hatch, esp. if the trunk option has a roomier rear compartment.

            In addition, those in the snowbelt can live with FWD, but would have to with AWD for the Stinger which makes the price disparity greater.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      Maybe its leading towards the next gen where it will become rwd, baby steps.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ACCvsBig10, Perhaps. But with automotive mechanical designs trending toward simplicity and lower manufacturing cost, it would be considered a leap backwards to revert to rwd, UNLESS what you had in mind was full-time AWD.

        Added power, better handling, a lot more zip to drive….. Yeah, a case could be made for that.

        Just look at the Camry V6 AWD sedan. In my area they sold every single one they made and people are clamoring for MOAH, MOAH, MOAH.

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          And exactly what Camry V6 AWD was that? Clamoring for something they didn’t even have, apparently. The new AWD one is four cylinder like the Altima.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “The new AWD one is four cylinder like the Altima.”

            It’s a V6, and it is a 2020 model. At the price it went out the door for, it had to be a V6. I know the guy who bought one for his wife. Said she didn’t want an H6 Subi because they are ugly.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            conundrum, UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Mel, the owner of the Camry XSE AWD and he told me it was a 2.5-liter I-4.

            He said he may have misspoken since his wife’s former XLE that he traded was a V6.

            I can’t believe he paid $32K for it.

            But I stand corrected.

    • 0 avatar
      pveezy

      There is no CVT in any version of the Sonata… not even the hybrid (DCT).

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My grandson bought his wife a new 2013 Accord EX-L V6 automatic. They wanted to trade it on a 2020 Accord but that came with a CVT. So no deal.

        Hyundai could have gone CVT, since everyone else is. They didn’t.

        Who knew that the Altima was so far ahead of its time that other OEMs would follow suit?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Can’t wait to see this actually in instrumented testing to see how it compares to sedans of similar power and similar price point.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    For me enough to know : “through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic”

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I don’t care how capable it is, if it looks like that I’m not interested. I know you don’t see it when you’re driving it, but I’d have to look at when walking to it.

    That lighting gimmick is gross and already overdone. The upcoming K5 is slightly less nasty.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Looked at the pics and must say the N-Line’s lower front fascia is far more attractive then the other trim levels and fixes the Sonata’s “frowning catfish” face. Hopefully, some of these improvements can be incorporated into the SEL to Limited trims at the mid-cycle refresh.

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