Hyundai announces the launch of their first-ever hot SUV, the KONA N. The Korean automotive manufacturer has been on a roll of late; not only have they shaken off their budget car image, but they have also been quite aggressively pushing their performance agenda. And today’s agenda comes in the form of the KONA N Compact SUV, their fifth N-badged car globally.
Hyundai’s new hot SUV’s powertrain is a turbocharged 2.0 litre direct injection engine, good for 280hp, and almost 400Nm (quite similar to the one found in the higher-performance i30N we tested). All that power is matched by an in-house 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic, and according to Hyundai, the transmission has been tweaked to handle the higher performance demands of the hot KONA. The high-performance Hyundai has a maximum speed of 240km/h and reaches 100km/h in 5.5 seconds.
In ensuring that carving around N-shaped corners are like a walk in the park, the KONA N is equipped with N Corner Carving Differential, an electronic limited slip differential (E- LSD) for optimum torque distribution. Giving extra food to the engine fore even better overtaking… or hooning, the KONA N’s ‘N Grin Shift’ allows drivers to have a 20-second burst of additional power, while kicking the transmission to the most suited gear to exploit all of that meaty additional grunt.
Those who love ‘brap-aty-brap!’ noises from their tailpipes will appreciate the tuned Variable Exhaust System, that will provide an entertaining audible soundtrack, whenever you shift the car into ‘N’ drive mode… essentially Sport+ in N-ormal people speak.
On the inside, owners will be treated to a large 10” infotainment screen, and a nifty racing head-up display (HUD) that adds a game-like dimension to every driving experience under N or Sport drive modes.
Not for us, but for those in Europe, the KONA N is fitted with N Road Sense, which recommends the switching over to ‘N’ drive mode when double-curved road signs are detected… those lucky b*******!
The N-badged KONA is also visually cooler than ice than the vanilla variant, where a combination of body-coloured fenders, 19” rims and a wider track, gives the performance SUV a wider stance. Exclusive to the KONA N (for now), delivering more visual boom, is their newly developed Sonic Blue, which is a lighter spin on their existing Performance Blue. The new colour adds greater contrast to the N-exclusive red accents that skirt the lower edge of the body.
“As a successful challenger in the performance category for almost four years and proactive player of Hyundai brand, N addresses and adapts to the upcoming changes in the performance category,” said Till Wartenberg, Vice President of N brand Management & Motorsport Sub-Division at Hyundai Motor Company. “Driving was never meant to be boring and with N. It never will be. This is reflected with our new N brand slogan ‘Never just drive.’ And will also be the guiding principle of the future electrification of Hyundai N.”
Hyundai’s N-badged cars have been envisioned with deep involvement by none other than Albert Biermann, who was once head of BMW’s M Performance Division. Hyundai’s ‘N’ badge represents the chicanes on a race track, and also where the cars are developed in Namyang with style… wop wop wop…
By the year 2022, Hyundai will have 18 N models… Lets hope we will get to see the bulk of them here. Whatever it is, something good will be coming to Singapore!
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