2021 Hyundai Veloster N gets an automatic - but no, it's not blasphemy

Hyundai's hot hatch is getting a new transmission option, with the 2021 Veloster N offering a high-tech dual-clutch automatic alongside the standard six-speed manual. Headed to dealerships in 2021 model year cars come October, the new N Eight-Speed Wet Dual-Clutch Transmission promises what only a few years ago would've been unthinkable to enthusiasts: day to day convenience paired with manual-style driver involvement.

That's because it's no ordinary automatic, Hyundai insists. Its eight speeds can operate in a fully-automatic mode, it's true, but it also has what the automaker is describing as race-like manual shift logic.

As you'd expect there are paddle shifters, but you might prefer to use the shifter instead. Push the stick forward and the transmission shifts down; pull it back, and it shifts up. It's more in keeping with g-forces of braking or acceleration, Hyundai argues, and leaves the Veloster N more fun to drive.

Indeed generating smiles rather than perfect 0-60 times seems like the key reasoning behind the new transmission. There's an N Grin Shift mode, for example, which Hyundai says is "game-like" in the way it temporarily over-boosts the hatchback's turbocharger, pumping up torque from 260 lb-ft to 278 lb-ft. Hit the button, and all of the Veloster N's drive mode settings are switched to their sportiest for 20 seconds, making for easier overtaking or just enjoying an impromptu series of tight corners.

N Power Shift, meanwhile, switches on automatically when you give the car more than 90-percent of the throttle. It promises to offset torque reduction during upshifts, and helps with a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds. N Track Sense Shift, meanwhile, turns on when the system figures the road conditions can handle more aggressive driving, tuning the car for sportier response.

That includes things like holding lower gears when you're cornering eagerly, so that you don't get wrong-footed by an untimely upshift, or allowing the 2.0-liter inline-4 to go all the way up to the redline when you're on a track. Exactly how those settings operate can be tweaked on the now-standard 8-inch infotainment display. That has navigation as standard now, too.

Also inside are new N Light Sport Seats, with cloth and leatherette trim, which Hyundai says are 4.4 pounds less than the old versions. They still get an illuminated N logo, though, on the back. 2021 Veloster N cars also get Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Rear Cross-traffic Collision Warning as standard.

2021's car is getting the Performance Package equipment across the board, too. Previously a $2,100 add-on, it includes the electronic limited-slip differential, variable exhaust valve system, 19-inch alloy wheels, 275 hp, and uprated brakes with 13.6-inch rotors on the front and 12.4-inch versions on the back.