Hyundai kicked off what it says will be a series of sportier N Line trim levels for its vehicles with the unveiling of the 2019 Elantra GT N Line at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
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That's not to be confused with Hyundai's true N high-performance versions of some of its cars. The U.S. just got its first with the upgraded N version of the 2019 Veloster. A step below, the N Line trim level will add sportier looks and some chassis and powertrain upgrades, and it will show up on other Hyundais. The N and N Line difference is akin to BMW's true M performance models versus the M Sport options for its regular models.
"Hyundai N models satisfy the needs of performance-oriented enthusiasts with exclusive, custom-tuned powertrain and chassis applications," said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president of Hyundai Group's product planning unit. "N Line is designed for those buyers craving N's sporty styling cues coupled with performance-tuned suspension upgrades."
The 2019 Elantra GT N Line will sit above the base Elantra GT and replaces the former GT Sport trim line. The GT is the Elantra hatchback model, but it's actually a version of the European Hyundai i30 and not the U.S.-market Elantra sedan. In Europe, the i30 has a full-on N performance model, but the U.S. is getting N Lite.
N Line appearance tweaks from the 2018 GT Sport include sportier front and rear bumpers, its own version of Hyundai's Cascading Grille and black side mirrors with turn signals. Inside, it gets a leather-wrapped N steering wheel, leather sport seats with an N logo, and red stitching and accent trim. The N Line carries over the sport powertrain, a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 195 pounds-feet of torque and is mated to an available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or standard six-speed manual.
To Hyundai's credit, the new trim is not strictly an appearance package and does also include some chassis upgrades, as well as Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires on the stick-shift version. The steering and shock absorbers have been retuned, and the N Line gets stiffer engine and transmission mounts, revised sway bars, and springs that are 14.3 percent stiffer in front and 21.9 percent stiffer in the back.
The base Elantra GT hatchback, meanwhile, carries over to 2019. Both the 2019 Elantra GT and Elantra GT N Line are on sale now, with prices starting at $21,335 for the GT, including $885 destination. The 2019 N Line is priced at $50 more than the outgoing 2018 GT Sport, starting at $24,185 with the manual and $25,285 with the automatic.
Along with the new GT N Line, Hyundai brought its 350-hp Veloster N TCR racecar. Bryan Herta Autosport will prepare a pair of the Veloster N-based cars for the 2019 International Motor Sports Association Michelin Pilot Challenge, where they will take on the Honda Civic Type R TCR, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and the Audi RS3 LMS TCR. It's Hyundai's second season of racing after winning the TCR class team and manufacturer titles last year in the Pirelli World Challenge with a TCR racecar based on the European i30 N, which is not sold in the U.S.
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