When the 8th generation Hyundai Sonata was launched, the first rumors said it will have a Sonata N performance version but after all we had to settle with the N-Line. According to Hyundai Motor Group’s Albert Biermann, N’s boss at the time, said that the Sonata or Tucson were models not ready to receive the full N treatment. Now our colleagues at ShortsCar captured a mysterious prototype near Hyundai’s R&D Center.
Now and with the updated Sonata and N-Line models already released, a prototype was spied again with some clues that allow us to think Hyundai reconsidered its decision and plans to bring a high performance Sonata after all.
To clarify, in Hyundai’s world an N model (like the Elantra N) is the ultimate performance variant, meant to be used on-track, where an N-Line isn’t dialed-up quite as much. At the time of N-Line reveal back in 2019 we asked about if there’s any possibility to develop a range-topping Sonata N while the product planner replied, “I don’t see it happening in the future; that’s not our intention with the Sonata.”
Why we think this prototype is a high performance Sonata? Well, the first is we already have seen the new N-Line variant so there’s a different vehicle and second and as we have said before, Hyundai applies the same package to all N’s and this includes the red side skirt you can see in the spy picture, the red calipers and so on.
Currently the performance variant was covered by the N-Line variant. The current N-Line use a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, making 290 horsepower (216 Kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet of torque. The engine pairs to an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.
This powertrain is exclusive to the current N-Line model, so it’s hard to imagine a more powerful engine powering the front wheels of the sedan when Hyundai already abandon the development of combustion engines.