Hyundai now offers high-performance models with gasoline or electric power

Dave Kunz Image
Monday, June 10, 2024
Hyundai offers high-performance models with gasoline or electric power
Hyundai N models, including the Elantra N and Ioniq 5 N, are part of the automaker's new performance sub-brand.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hyundai makes lots of practical vehicles. For example, the Elantra compact. But there's also a performance sub-brand at Hyundai called simply "N," which stands for Nürburgring, the famed test track in Germany where top performance cars prove their mettle. And for Namyang, the South Korean district where Hyundai does most of its R&D work.

The Elantra N is the snorting, high-powered hotter cousin of the regular model, with 276 turbocharged horsepower under the hood, the option of a six-speed manual transmission, and track-developed suspension and brakes. It may still be a practical four-door sedan, but this purpose-built Elantra could embarrass some much more expensive cars on a curvy road. The Elantra N has a base price of $33,700 with the six-speed manual transmission. The automatic version starts at $35,200.

Now comes another facet of the Hyundai N brand, an all-electric model. The Ioniq 5 N employs the same formula for high performance, it just doesn't involve gasoline.

Lightning-quick, the Ioniq 5 N's dual motors can put out a neck-snapping 647 horsepower through all four high-performance tires. And since electric cars are already tech-y anyway, Hyundai's engineers added some tech to fine-tune the performance.

Also, familiar-sounding virtual engine noises, with something called "N Active Sound."

Yes, it's an electric car that can sound like a conventional performance car. Different modes create different audio simulations, and your passengers might think you've got exhaust pipes out back.

And while it sounds realistically racy inside the car to the driver and passengers, from the outside it just sounds like an electric car. It's also priced like a higher-end electric car with a base sticker of $67,475.

As the spectrum of electric vehicles continues to expand in the years going forward, we're likely to see more and more high-performance offerings. And so far, some companies, including Hyundai, are not asking buyers to make a choice. You can get your performance thrills either with internal combustion, or battery power.

The timetable to switch car lines to electricity is a bit of a moving target right now. Many drivers say they aren't ready to go electric yet, and some say they never will.

But with a common theme of performance, right now Hyundai is letting you have things either way. A hot internal combustion car that makes enticing noises, or a hot battery-powered car that also makes enticing noises, but via software.

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