2022 Hyundai Elantra N Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jul 14, 2021
  • Performance-tuned version of Hyundai Elantra sedan
  • Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 276 horsepower
  • Acceleration to 60 mph in just over five seconds
  • Full steering, braking, suspension, and structural upgrades to maximize performance, ride, and handling
  • Numerous technologies to enhance acceleration, driving character
  • Arrives in showrooms late 2021

With the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, there’s a compelling new sports sedan to consider. At Hyundai, the N stands for Nürburgring, a racing track in Germany where the automaker fine-tunes the ride and handling of its vehicles during development. Based on my experience driving a camouflaged pre-production example of the new 2022 Elantra N on the serpentine roads laced across the mountains near Malibu, California, this car is legit.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Gray Side and Front Quarter View

Available only as a 4-door sedan, the Elantra N is not to be confused with the Elantra N Line. The N Line has a sporty look, more power, and better handling than a typical Elantra, and it even offers a manual gearbox. But having driven both examples of the car, I can tell you that the Elantra N Line and the Elantra N are worlds apart when it comes to outright performance.

Exterior Features - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Blue Rear Quarter View

To distinguish the 2022 Elantra N, Hyundai blacks out the car’s front bumper, grille, and lower air intakes and adds red air dam accents that match the brake calipers. The accents also underline the car’s side skirts, fading into the rear wheel only to reappear on the rear diffuser panel. A black wing-type spoiler, oversized round dual exhaust outlets, and large 19-inch aluminum wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires complete the look.

Interior Features - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Interior Dashboard

Inside, the Elantra N takes the car’s modern, stylish, and technologically advanced interior to the next level. Sport-bolstered seats are standard, while performance seats including an illuminated N logo are optional. The shifter and door scuff panels wear the N logo, and metal pedal covers signal the car’s sporting intent.

The performance-oriented N steering wheel offers quick access to the car’s N Grin Shift power enhancement function, as well as two driver-configured N driving mode profiles.

Under the Hood - Find the best Hyundai deals!

A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine supplies 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, delivered to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed wet dual-clutch automated manual transmission (DCT). Hyundai claims it takes just over five seconds to accelerate to 60 mph and reports a top speed of 155 mph.

Choose the DCT, and the Elantra N comes with N Grin Shift, which increases turbocharger boost pressure for up to 20 seconds at a time, giving the car a temporary increase of 10 horsepower. Additionally, Hyundai says the Elantra N with the DCT offers N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift for improved performance.

Given the Elantra N’s front-wheel-drive layout, the N Corner Carving Differential is a necessity. This electronic limited-slip differential helps to ensure that maximum power makes its way to the pavement. A launch control system also assists in this endeavor.

Drivers can program the N Sound Equalizer to custom-tune the artificial engine note. At the same time, the variable valve exhaust system features reduced “booming” at idle while retaining its characteristic snap, crackle, and pop under acceleration and deceleration.

Hyundai also says the Elantra N features larger 14.2-inch brake discs with improved cooling capabilities and re-tuned steering. A strut tower bar and rear structural supports increase body rigidity, the company says.

Hyundai also introduces a few tweaks it hasn’t used for any previous N-badged model, such as the all-new Hyundai Kona N:

  • Inspired by the technology used in WRC rally cars, the Elantra N’s new integrated drive axle marries the driveshaft, wheel hub, and bearings for weight reduction and improved stamina under extreme lateral g-forces
  • An integrated intake duct and air cleaner design produces sharper engine response, according to Hyundai
  • Optimized powertrain mounts improve handling response, says the automaker
  • Dual compound insulators for the front suspension and dual compound trailing arm bushings produce better ride and handling qualities while reducing noise, vibration, and harshness, Hyundai says

Safety Systems - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai has not defined the Elantra N’s collection of safety systems. Based on what the company offers for the Elantra N Line, you can expect the following features:

  • Forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Active blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic warning with automatic braking
  • Lane-departure warningLane-keeping assistance
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Driver monitoring system
  • Rear-seat reminder system
  • Safe Exit Warning (warns occupants when it is unsafe to open a door and exit the car)

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai will offer its digital instrumentation and 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the Elantra N. Expect Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, wireless smartphone charging, navigation, and Blue Link connected services. An 8-speaker Bose premium sound system is also likely on the menu.

In addition to these features, the car’s instrumentation and infotainment technology will offer N-specific displays that make it easy to check the engine oil and coolant temperature, turbocharger pressure, torque output, and other performance metrics. The Elantra N will also offer a lap timer function and N Track Map, which records the car’s location and movement on a given racetrack in real-time for review by a driver later.

Elantras offer digital key technology, which transforms your smartphone into a key that can unlock and start the car and re-lock the vehicle once you reach your destination. Hyundai might also offer this for the new 2022 Elantra N.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Competitors - Find the best Hyundai deals!

With Americans preferring to drive SUVs instead of cars, few affordable sports sedans and hot hatches exist. Yet, driving enthusiasm remains high among younger people raised on racing video games. This situation bodes well for the new 2022 Hyundai Elantra N.

When it arrives later this year with a price tag likely approaching $35,000, the Elantra N won’t have much competition. Alternatives will have less power (Honda Civic Si, Kia Forte GTVolkswagen Jetta GLI) or feature a hatchback configuration and perhaps a higher price (Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf R).

That makes the Mazda Mazda3 2.5 Turbo sedan and the redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX the Elantra N’s most natural competitors. Based on my first drive of a pre-production Elantra N, it is more performance-oriented than the softer and more subtle Mazda. Thanks to its N Corner Carving Differential, it should give the all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX plenty of competition.

Regardless, one thing is certain: Despite the popularity of SUVs and talk of autonomous vehicles, it is nevertheless a good time to be a driving enthusiast.

Hyundai’s global media website is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of July 14, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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