N-troduction: Calling the Hyundai Sonata N Line a modern-day muscle automobile is a surefire technique to get accused of automotive heresy. In spite of everything, it is only a household sedan with a warmer engine, a stiffer suspension, a flashy physique package, and a few crimson inside accents, proper? Nicely, yeah, however the authentic GTO was only a Pontiac Tempest with a high-output V-8, upgraded chassis and drivetrain parts, and numerous visible distinctions. The purpose is not to instantly examine the souped-up Sonata to the legendary GTO. They’re clearly incomparable. Philosophically, although, they’re lower from the identical fabric, solely they exist in numerous eras.

The New York Instances stories that, in 2020, millennials purchased extra new automobiles than child boomers for the primary time ever. Coincidentally, that aligns with the speedy enlargement of Hyundai’s N efficiency subbrand, which makes a lot of its mainstream fashions extra emotionally stimulating. The 201-hp Elantra N Line and the 286-hp Elantra N are prime examples. To see if the Korean automaker can educate a youthful technology that automobiles will be enjoyable—however primarily to see how the brand new N-branded model of Hyundai’s mid-size sedan holds up over the course of 40,000 miles­—we welcomed a 2021 Sonata N Line to our long-term fleet.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

In contrast to the compact Elantra, the Sonata’s efficiency peaks with the N Line. It is the one trim stage that contains a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four and an eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. The engine makes 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That is almost 100 ponies and 130 pound-feet greater than the Sonata’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine. With all that energy solely feeding the entrance axle, there’s extra squealing from the N Line’s entrance tires than a barnyard filled with pissed-off pigs. Even within the default Regular drive mode, we discovered ourselves involuntarily burning rubber when leaving stops with comparatively delicate throttle inputs. Consequently, we’ll be monitoring our take a look at automobile’s tread put on. Each N Line rolls on intricately designed multi-spoke 19-inch wheels that may be wrapped with Continental Premium Contact 6 summer time tires as a $200 possibility, however ours got here with the usual Pirelli P Zero all seasons.

We remorse not upgrading to the Continentals, as a result of the N Line we track-tested with them outperformed our long-termer on the usual Pirellis. On summer time tires, the N Line stopped from 70 mph in a brief 152 toes; it wanted 183 toes on the all-seasons. Likewise, the stickier tires helped the N Line generate a notable 0.93 g on our 300-foot skidpad versus 0.85 g. A minimum of the tires on our long-term Sonata barely affected its acceleration occasions. It launched to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and cleared the quarter-mile in 13.8 ticks at 104 mph. We’ll should see if we will shut the 0.2-second hole versus the summer-tire-equipped N Line throughout its exit take a look at.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

Nonetheless, the variations between the Sonata N Line and the remainder of the lineup go deeper than tire choices, an unique powertrain, and extreme wheelspin. The engine and transmission mounts are stiffer to raised deal with the upper torque output. Together with bigger brake rotors throughout, Hyundai says the calipers are revised to work with the larger discs and upgraded brake pads. The N Line additionally has thicker anti-roll bars and options specifically tuned dampers and barely firmer rear springs. Its steering ratio is faster, too, and the electrical motor that assists the steering system is relocated from the column to the rack to enhance the texture. The online result’s a automobile that handles rather well and drives extra cohesively than the common model. The draw back is that the N Line’s experience is significantly stiffer.

Aside from the optionally available summer time tires—which are not obtainable on its company sibling, the Kia K5 GT—there are nearly no choices to tell apart your N Line out of your neighbor’s. Choosing the audacious Glowing Yellow paint may be one, particularly because it has been dropped for the 2022 mannequin yr. Our 2021 instance wears no-cost Stormy Sea (deep blue) paint and $169 carpeted ground mats that elevate its $34,305 base worth to $34,474 as examined. The N Line comes commonplace with a 12-speaker Bose stereo, a full suite of driver assists, heated entrance seats, passive entry, a panoramic sunroof, and wi-fi telephone charging. Plus, it has a digital gauge cluster and a ten.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with built-in navigation, in addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

To this point, we have racked up simply almost 7000 miles. Most of that was round our headquarters in southeast Michigan, however we have additionally traveled to the state’s Higher Peninsula and into Ontario, Canada. The N Line has a mixed EPA ranking of 27 mpg, which is what we’re averaging. The early logbook feedback reward the automobile’s chassis tuning and transmission calibration. Nevertheless, some staffers have referred to as its inside drab. There are quibbles concerning the push-button shifter and that the plastic behind the door handles is not as good as the encircling trim. The motive force’s seat peak can also be unnaturally excessive, leaving a few of our noggins uncomfortably near the microsuede headliner.

With 1000’s of miles left to go, we’ll in the end determine if the sportiest Sonata excites us or exhausts us. And hopefully alongside the best way we’ll additionally discover out if the N Line can encourage this technology the best way the Pontiac GTO as soon as did previous generations.

Months in Fleet: 3 months Present Mileage: 6969 miles

Common Gasoline Financial system: 27 mpg

Gasoline Tank Dimension: 15.9 Noticed Gasoline Vary: 420 miles

Service: $0 Regular Put on: $0 Restore: $0

Injury and Destruction: $0

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