2022 Hyundai Elantra N officially debuts in North America

The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N has officially debuted in North America with the mission of hunting down Honda Civic Type Rs and VW Golf GTIs. It's the first Elantra to wear the N badge, and it's the first N vehicle to wear 245-width Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires from the factory, a gentle reminder of the law-breaking performance that awaits.

We're already aware of what's under the hood and the mechanical wizardry underneath the Elantra N's aggressive sheet metal. It arrives at the party with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a larger turbine wheel, a highly optimized cylinder block, and direct injection. It has 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, and the engine sends power to the front wheels via an available eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox inherited from the Veloster N.

And yes, the newest Hyundai Elantra N will have a standard six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching downshifts, great when gunning it around sweeping corners. It also has a front-axle limited-slip differential to eliminate the understeering tendency of front-wheel-drive performance cars. If you don't like using stick, the Elantra N's optional eight-speed automatic is worth the money for offering a collection of hi-tech and usable features first seen in the Veloster N.

The Elantra N DCT automatic has N Grift Mode that momentarily over-boosts the turbocharger, eking the engine to pump out 286 horsepower for short bursts of powerful acceleration. Also included is N Power Shift mode that enhances accelerating by maximizing engine torque when executing upshifts. Meanwhile, N Track Sense Shift applies the perfect shift timings when driving on the track, a feature that "enables drivers to avoid busy gear shifting, like a professional driver," said Hyundai.

Other cool features like launch control, an integrated drive axle, and variable exhaust are standard, but the latter has an innovative N Sound Equalizer that teenagers will love. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N can pipe out simulated engine sounds from Hyundai Motorsports. There's an equalizer function for drivers to tailor-fit the car's sound (whine, throat, and bass), at least virtually. Call it cheating, if you will, but Hyundai promises a distinctive N exhaust note with the requisite pops and crackles.

On the styling front, the Hyundai Elantra N has a love-it or hate-it fa├žade, taking inspiration from a driver's racing helmet. It has a lip spoiler with the N-exclusive red graphic line that runs around the car. It also has a custom N rear spoiler and a new rear diffuser to manage the airflow, while an inverted triangle N reflector and dual exhausts round up the race-ready vibe.

"Elantra N is the purest expression of our mission to date," said Till Wartenberg, Vice President and Head of N Brand Management at Hyundai Motor Company. "Hyundai Motor's high-performance N brand constantly aims to provide customers with a range of exciting choices for increased driving pleasure."

Inside, Elantra N has a thicker steering wheel, a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay with Android Auto connectivity. The screen has a unique graphic interface that, said Hyundai, makes drivers feel "as if sitting in a dynamically moving VR game seat while watching a racing game screen." We have no idea why drivers should look on the screen and not on the road while going fast, but the screen can display essential parameters like oil temperature, coolant temperature, and turbo meters if you like that sort of stuff.

The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N may arrive at the end of this year by early 2022 at the latest. Pricing is still forthcoming, but we're pining for a sub-$35,000 MSRP.

2022 Hyundai Elantra Gallery