The new, seventh-generation Elantra unveiled in 2020 will be the next Hyundai model to receive the sporty N Line treatment. Images and a short video showing a prototype going flat-out give us an early look at the sedan.
Developed to replace the Elantra Sport, the N Line model will slot at the top of the range as a performance-oriented variant aimed at enthusiasts. Don't expect Hyundai to release a stripped-out street-legal track car; it will be milder than the 275-horsepower Veloster N. Think of it as the firm's answer to the Honda Civic Si, not as an alternative to the Civic Type R. It will stand out thanks to a model-specific body kit that will make the new Elantra's extroverted design even harder to miss and subtle styling changes (like different stitching) in the cabin.
Chassis upgrades will play a big role in the transformation. An independent multi-link rear suspension would seem likely to replace the regular Elantra's twist-beam rear setup for sharper and more sure-footed handling.
Your best guess is as good as ours when it comes to what's hiding behind the wide grille. Hyundai isn't ready to publish technical specifications yet. The most powerful variant of the last-generation Elantra put 201 horsepower under the driver's right foot, and we wouldn't be surprised to see that figure swell to 220 or more. The engine — which is almost certainly a turbocharged four-cylinder — spins the front wheels via a dual-clutch automatic transmission connected to steering wheel-mounted paddles. It's too early to tell if a stick will be offered.
Hyundai hasn't announced when it will unveil the 2021 Elantra N Line. We're guessing it was scheduled to make its global debut at the 2020 New York Auto Show that was postponed from April to August, so it might instead break cover online in the coming weeks. Sales will begin for the 2021 model year. When it arrives in showrooms, it will join the standard, 147-horsepower version of the Elantra and the fuel-sipping hybrid model.
Looking ahead, N-badged Hyundai models will reach the market in rapid-fire succession. Spy shots confirm engineers are working on transforming the Kona into a full-blown N model with close to 300 horsepower under the hood, and unverified reports outline an N Line version of the Venue, the firm's smallest soft-roader. N's halo car, a mid-engined hot hatch loosely based on the Veloster, remains under development. We've also seen official renderings depicting a Palisade N, a Nexo N, and a Prophecy N but there's little indication those April 1st renderings make the leap from the drawing board to the showroom floor anytime soon.