Who says auto shows can’t surprise anymore? After releasing the details on its redesigned 2019 Veloster, Hyundai pulled a fast one on the 2018 Detroit auto show on Monday, introducing the first member of its long-awaited N performance line.
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is the most extreme performance vehicle from Hyundai since the Genesis Coupe, arriving with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder that packs 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Peak torque is available between 1,450 and 4,700 rpm. Channeling the 2.0-liter’s noise is a new multi-mode dual exhaust that breathes through a set of cannon-like pipes that sprout from the rear bumper. We don’t know how the Veloster N sounds, but Hyundai is promising “an exhilarating engine over-run exhaust crackle during spirited-driving upshifts and rev-matched downshifts,” so color us excited.
The inline-4 alongside a 6-speed manual transmission—as God himself intended, there is no automatic transmission available for this hot hatchback. The gearbox features automatic rev matching on downshifts, which we’re hoping drives can deactivate.
Unlike the Veloster Turbo, Hyundai actually paid attention to the Veloster N’s suspension. Using a new “Power Sense” axle geometry, Hyundai is promising less torque steer, quicker, more precise steering, and better feedback, something even the brand’s performance models have long been short on. An electronically adjustable suspension is standard and takes advantage of an N driving mode—one of five available, including Normal, Sport, Eco, and N Custom—to better manage weight transfer in aggressive driving. The base wheel is an 18-incher shod in Michelin Pilot SuperSport tires, while an optional 19 wears Pirelli P-Zero summer tires in a compound developed exclusively for the Veloster N.
Along with the Power Sense axle geometry, Hyundai has attached a few other silly names to the Veloster N’s hardware. For example, the N Grin Control System is the brand’s formal name for the Veloster N’s different driving modes. And the N Corner Carving Limited-Slip Differential is there to better manage the 2.0-liter’s power.
As silly as those names are, it’s reassuring to know the Veloster N looks anything but. Wearing an available shade of powder blue that looks more appropriate on a Polestar Volvo and red accents that look borrowed from a Volkswagen GTI, the Veloster N’s exterior appearance borders on menacing. The flared wheel arches and aggressive roofline feel like too much on a standard Veloster, but these touches lend themselves well to the Veloster N.
The front fascia is aggressive, with a restyled chin that embraces the red accents, but it’s not a dramatic departure from the Veloster Turbo. The profile, though, with its flared wheel arches, black-and-red side sills, unique wheels, and red brake calipers is much more purposeful. At the back, there’s a large wing and diffuser to manage airflow out the back. And of course, the rear exhaust pipes, which look like three-inchers and should give the Ford Focus RS a run for its money at the Big Exhaust Pipe Games of 2018.
Hyundai hasn’t announced pricing for the 2019 Veloster N, but it’s expected to arrive in dealers by the end of 2018.