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The front-wheel-drive Hyundai Kona N can reach 100km/h in 5.5 seconds

Quite fast for a crossover without the benefit of 4WD

Hyundai thought the Kona was a good base for a fun-to-drive car. PHOTO FROM HYUNDAI

Hyundai is a car company that loves to tease its new releases. A few months ago, it previewed the sporty Kona N. But with the car now free of its camouflage, we can finally take a look at the Namyang R&D center’s take on a souped-up version of the Korean automaker’s subcompact crossover.

Because of its size and shape, the Kona N can almost be called a hot hatch. PHOTOS FROM HYUNDAI

It’s no surprise that the car resembles a regular Kona. Aesthetic add-ons include vents, sporty aero bits, dual exhaust tips, and 19-inch wheels. Hyundai thought it was worth mentioning the Kona N’s special paint job, which is called Sonic Blue. However, the car in these pictures doesn’t look anywhere near blue. But we reckon nobody will really care about perplexing color names.

That red button on the steering wheel has access to a temporary power boost. PHOTOS FROM HYUNDAI

One thing we do care about is what’s under the hood. The Kona N has a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 276hp and 392Nm. It is mated to an eight-speed, wet-type dual-clutch transmission (sorry, no stick shift), and can launch the car to 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds (using launch control). Top speed is 240km/h.

If that sort of power isn’t enough for anyone with Fast & Furious fantasies, the Kona N has a variable exhaust system and an overboost function called “N Grin Shift.” Activated by a red button on the steering wheel, NGS adds 10hp for 20 seconds so you can tell your drag-race opponent that it’s “too soon, junior” with a Johnny Tran grin.

Sadly, the Kona N has no optional manual transmission. PHOTO FROM HYUNDAI

The 10-inch infotainment screen will not tell you that something is amiss with your manifold if you press the NGS switch. Instead, it will display important information such as lap times and track maps just like in video games. Speaking of the track, helping out the Kona N in the handling department is a limited-slip differential, bigger brakes, a strengthened chassis, and sticky Pirelli rubber.

Hyundai sees more N and N-Line models in its future. PHOTO FROM HYUNDAI

So far, there is no word on pricing or availability. But Hyundai has hinted at the N and N-Line brands expanding to 18 other models in its range. So, in a few years, we might get a hot version of the Accent or even the Ioniq 5 electric car.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.