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2020 Hyundai Sonata N Line First Look: Nürburgring Sonata

Hyundai’s family sedan will be its next N Line car

Hyundai’s family sedan will be its next N Line car

The big-name German performance brands all sell performance in various packages and steps, from BMW M Sport or Mercedes AMG Line packages to full-blown M and AMG models. Hyundai aspires to follow in these footsteps with N models like North America’s Veloster N and Europe’s i30 N at the top of the retail pyramid (factory racing N cars occupy the ultimate peak of the pyramid) and a widening line of N Line models occupying the rung beneath them. First to get the N Line treatment was the Elantra GT N Line, and next up will be the Sonata N Line.

Not too much info has been shared on the full Sonata N Line package, but at a recent powertrain backgrounder, we learned that the heart of this new beast is to be a 2.5-liter Smartstream turbocharged gasoline direct injection (TGDI) engine that should make 290 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That represents a 52 percent power bump and a significant 71 percent more torque than the next-hottest-performing Sonata, a 1.6-liter turbo good for 191 hp and 181 lb-ft. Relative to the Elantra GT N Line’s 25 and 30 percent bumps in power and torque, that’s pretty impressive.

A performance boost of that magnitude will require commensurate reinforcement and re-tuning of the brakes, springs, and dampers, which engineers are no doubt putting the finishing touches on even as we type over at the in-house performance tuning facility former BMW M boss Albert Biermann established at the Nürburgring. Will the team be able to transform this sizeable front-drive sedan into a credible back-road burner that performs somewhere between an Elantra GT and a Veloster N? Consider our fingers well and truly crossed.

Then comes the question of what Hyundai can charge for such a device. If it applies the same roughly 20 percent upcharge that one pays to upgrade a base Elantra GT automatic to an Elantra GT N Line with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, that would bring the price of an SEL-spec Sonata to around $34,000 USD, or a Limited grade one to $41,000 USD. It’s a bad idea to load a performance car up to Limited spec anyway, and with the Accord 2.0T Touring topping out at $37,030 USD and a loaded Camry XSE V-6 just cresting $39K USD, we’d expect the Sonata N Line to be spec’d to price out in the upper $30Ks (USD). Watch this space for more details as they roll out.