Hyundai has spend the majority of its life as a value company. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not a role that comes with a lot of prestige or upmarket appeal. It’s ready to grow up. However, for an automaker, part of growing up includes a performance line. Because you can’t be a serious carmaker if you don’t have an iconic brooch for specially designed vehicles — and the emblem that sporting Hyundais will wear is the mighty N.
Last year, Hyundai revealed the i30 N for the European market. This caused an uproar in North America because it appeared as if the company was producing something created for the sole purpose of besting the industry standard for hot hatchbacks — Volkswagen’s GTI. Fortunately, the South Korean brand decided to throw us a juicy bone by unveiling the Veloster N a short time later.
The model takes the i30 N’s 271-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and places it inside of a slightly different (more aggressive) body. Hyundai is confident it will be a success and, based on how things are playing out in Europe, it has every right to feel that way.
Hyundai’s Veloster may be the first to wear the N badge and we’ve already explained it won’t be the last. However, the plot has thickened slightly. The new division won’t be limited to peppering existing models with enhanced powertrains and sport-inspired accessories, it’s eventually going to have its own halo car.
Thomas Schemera, who was appointed head of Hyundai’s new high performance and motorsport division earlier this year, is claiming that the Veloster N is only “the first phase of N vehicles.” But he isn’t talking about the future N-Line, which is to be comprised of gently tweaked Hyundai cars. Apparently, the group is developing a halo performance model to show off what the sporting division can really do.
BMW has M, Mercedes-Benz has AMG, Cadillac has V, Lexus has F, Volkswagen and Honda share R, and Hyundai now has ownership of the letter N for its performance sub-brand.
The second-generation Hyundai Veloster, bowing for the 2019 model year, gains a hot, 275-horsepower N variant later this year, but it won’t be the only Hyundai model with that letter affixed to its sheetmetal. While the automaker hopes to use the Veloster N’s athleticism to brawn up the lineup’s image, don’t expect any additional N models just yet.
Expect N Sport.
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- Wjtinfwb We had one of these LTD wagons in the daily rental fleet I worked while in College. It had been returned early from the lease customer and dumped into daily rental duty to milk a few more dollars out of it before it went to auction. As a lease/rental car, it's maintenance had been... eh, spotty at best. But one Friday night I needed a big car to take some friends down to the coast for dinner. The LTD was available so I grabbed the keys. Loaded with 3 couples and a cooler full of beer and wine, we set of on the 60 mile drive to the coast. The HOT light came on about halfway but there was no service station open on the drive down US 319. So we kept driving. Parked at the restaurant, food and many beers and wine ensued, we poured back into the LTD and headed back to campus. The HOT light popped on 20 miles in, so we kept driving. Dropped the wagon back at the rental lot, the V6 dieseling to a clanky end. Monday came, I figured the Ford was toast so avoided it but returned from lunch to find an associate had rented it again. Surprised it even started, I figured a rescue call was soon to be requested. Nothing. Two days later it was returned, the lady returning it said the HOT light came on, but she kept driving as everything seemed fine but she noticed a really bad smell. I drove it around back, popped the hood and started checking fluids; radiator, dry as a bone. crankcase, no oil on the dipstick. Even the transmission and power steering fluids were MIA. I filled the radiator with tap water, poured 3 quarts of 30 weight Quaker State in to the filler and slammed the hood. Eventually, the thermostat was replaced as the cause of the overheating but the LTD kept running until I got fired for wrecking a Fairmont. Tough car...
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