Hyundai is introducing a range-topping Sonata that’ll be the most powerful Sonata yet.
To further its performance credentials, it’ll sit on a suspension setup 5mm lower than the regular Sonata (pictured) and feature different springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. The Sonata N-Line will also feature larger disc brakes, and a unique wheel and tyre set-up.
Car & Driver reports the Sonata N-Line will also feature an active exhaust – presumably much like that in the i30 N – as well as selectable drive modes comprising Normal, Custom, Sport and Sport Plus.
N-Line models will be distinguished from other Sonatas through the use of dark chrome trim, a quad exhaust, a new front fascia and a unique body kit. Inside, the N-Line will have sport seats up front with thicker bolstering.
It’ll be the first dedicated sporty Sonata in the line’s 34-year run, although, as the “-Line” suffix suggests, it’s not going to be as overtly sporty as N-badged models like the i30 N.
The N-Line’s power and torque figures compare favourably with optional engines in rival mid-size sedans. The turbocharged 2.5-litre four available in the Mazda 6, for example, produces 170kW and an identical 420Nm, while the 3.5-litre V6 in the Toyota Camry has more power (224kW) but less torque (362Nm).
It’s unusual to find a mid-size family sedan today with sporting aspirations, which should make the Sonata N-Line stand out, albeit in a shrinking segment.
Currently, the most powerful Sonata uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 180kW and 353Nm.
The sixth-generation Sonata, sold here as the i45, was also available in some markets with a turbocharged 2.0-litre producing 204kW and 364Nm. This could be had in conjunction with a firmer suspension tune and paddle shifters, but even so equipped it wasn't as distinguished from other Sonatas to quite the same extent the new N-Line will be.
The new Sonata has faced delays and will now launch locally in the first half of 2020, according to Hyundai. The N-Line will follow later in the year.
There will be two other engines offer in the Australian Sonata range: a 134kW/264Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, and a 142kW/245Nm 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-pot.