The Hyundai Kona N has made its debut as, said Albert Biermann – president and head of the R&D division of Hyundai Motor Group – “a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch”.

The performance-orientated Kona draws 206 kW and 392 N.m from Hyundai Motor Company’s 2,0-litre four-cylinder T-GDi motor, linked with an “enhanced version” of Hyundai’s in-house developed eight-speed DCT. The wet-type dual-clutch transmission has received improvements in durability, Hyundai says, which allows it to manage the demands of the Kona N and, by applying unique gear ratios, allows faster shifting times to give the best possible performance. Calibrated for the Kona N, the eight-speed DCT features exclusive shift settings, including N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift for maximum driving exhilaration. Hyundai claims the Kona N has a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5,5 seconds (when launch control is activated) and a top speed of 240 km/h.

Hyundai Kona N
Racing head-up display adds “game-like” dimension of driving

Hyundai’s first “hot SUV”, as the automaker calls it, is equipped with launch control, a variable exhaust system and N Grin control system, which features five driving modes, namely Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom. The Kona N’s electronic limited-slip N Corner Carving Differential distributes torque to the driven wheels to enhance the fun of driving and corner carving, while the addition of extra welding points, an improved strut ring structure and a reinforced skeleton enhance rigidity and minimise body roll during manoeuvres.

“[The Kona N] breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive … [it can] carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving,” Biermann added.

A front lip spoiler, double-wing roof spoiler and side skirts enhance aerodynamic efficiency and, Hyundai says, provide styling cues that declare its racetrack readiness. The Kona N’s front end features a wide lower air intake reminiscent of an aeronautic fuselage.

Hyundai Kona N
Limited-slip N Corner Carving differential enhances the fun of driving

Hyundai has developed a new exterior colour exclusive to this N model. The Sonic Blue colour, the automaker says, is a spin on the Performance Blue hue found on the i30 N. The Kona N’s 19-inch wheels, meanwhile, are specific to the Kona N and have a wider track.

The Kona N’s interior features Performance Blue accents; N-specific seats and steering wheel, and gearlever and metal pedals. A new 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system – communicating lap times and N track maps – and digital instrument cluster, which features a racing head-up display which, the company says, adds a “game-like” dimension to every driving experience. The Kona N further includes an array of safety features, such as an advanced driver-assistance system, which includes smart cruise control, lane-following and lane-keeping assist, and a forward collision-avoidance system.

Hyundai Kona N
Ten-inch touchscreen communicates lap times and N track maps to the driver

“N’s mission is to push the limits of performance to help drivers discover how fun driving can be,” Hyundai says. “With that in mind, Hyundai Motor also revealed the N brand’s new brand claim: ’Never just drive’ … but ‘enjoy every second of it.’”