Since its debut in 1985, the Hyundai Sonata has constantly evolved in the past 36 years. And models such as the Sonata Hybrid, which maintains the core value of being a ‘ family sedan,’ and the Sonata Hybrid, which considers the environment, and the Sonata Sensuous, a 1.6-liter turbo engine that balances performance and efficiency, were added to broaden the lineup. This is because more people expect more from the Sonata than before.
Recently, Hyundai Motor Company newly added the N line Sonata, which contains the sensibility of the company’s high-performance brand, N, for the first time in a midsize sedan. The Hybrid and Sensuous model of the N line house efficiency, design, and driving performance. The Sonata N line shows even more powerful performance based on a 2.5-liter turbo engine. In addition, it has a variety of elements that add high-performance sensibilities – unique design, new functions for enhanced driving sensibility, and N performance parts. Here are the main five features of the Sonata N line that make the Sonata N line even more special.
Design featuring the dynamic driving performance
The Sonata N Line maximizes its own unique design and sporty sense based on Hyundai’s design identity called ‘Sensuous Sportiness’. The main change is to refine the style of each part of the body and increase aerodynamic performance. The front part created a more dynamic atmosphere with a newly designed parametric jewel pattern grille in a geometric design and a bold-looking design of the front bumper intake. At the rear, a dual twin-tip muffler is applied, representing the character, and a rear diffuser and rear spoiler that improve aerodynamic performance are located at the bottom of the rear bumper and at the top of the trunk lid, respectively.
The interior is decorated with achromatic color interior materials to create a refined atmosphere, while red stitching is added to key elements such as seats, armrests, door trim, and steering wheel to give a strong feeling. In addition, the seat and steering wheel are exclusively for the N line. These design changes also help drivers enjoy sporty driving. Speaking of the seat, soft suede and Nappa leather are used together to improve the feel, and it firmly supports the body even when dynamic driving. The steering wheel, finished in semi-perforated leather, provides a good grip even when your hands get sweaty. In addition, the N-line logo was engraved on the Steer by wire (SBW) gear selector and dashboard to emphasize the uniqueness of the family sports sedan.
The turbocharged 2.5L engine and N DCT
What makes the Sonata N line special is that it has the best powertrain in the lineup. The Sonata N line has implemented the best-in-class engine performance based on the 2.5L turbo engine and N DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) that delivers optimized driving efficiency. The 2.5ℓ turbo engine exhibits a maximum output of 290 horsepower and a maximum torque of 43.0kgf·m, which is the most powerful performance among its predecessors. The N DCT, an 8-speed wet DCT created for a high-performance model, was first applied to the Veloster N and proved its value, and features the smooth driving characteristics of an automatic transmission, with the quick response and direct connection that a manual transmission can offer.
In addition, by applying fluid coupling and solenoid valve capable of precise control, it secured fast shifting and response. Maximized power transmission efficiency reduces power losses and improves propulsion and fuel efficiency. In general, in the case of a front wheel drive vehicle, the center of gravity is moved backward during acceleration, making it difficult to efficiently use the driving force. However, the Sonata N line not only secured high fuel economy performance of 11.1km/ℓ (combined) but also takes about 6.2 seconds (when launch control is activated) to accelerate from zero to 100km/h.
The key to dynamic driving performance: Thoroughly tuned chassis
The diameter of the brake disc has been increased from 305mm to 345mm for the front wheel, and from 284mm to 325mm for the rear wheel. The larger the disk area, the greater the friction, and the heat applied to the system cools faster. In addition, high-friction brake pads are applied to improve braking performance. The high-friction brake pad of the Sonata N line contains more metal than conventional brake pads, so it could generate more noise and dust. But it is possible to secure stable braking performance even in a harsh driving environment based on the reinforced braking power.
The rubber bushing material that absorbs shock between the axle (member) and the vehicle body has also been changed. The new material is harder and more durable than the previous one. As a result, it improved vehicle responsiveness, and it stabilizes the vehicle in dynamic driving.
Various functions to make driving fun
The Sonata N Line provides various functions that stimulate driving sensibility. Examples include rev matching, launch control, N power shift, and active sound design that increase acceleration and driving performance by making the most of the performance of the engine and transmission.
Rev matching is a function to suppress shift shock and sudden pitching (a phenomenon in which the center of gravity of the vehicle moves forward or backward) by adjusting the engine rotation speed to that of the drive shaft when lowering the gear. Basically, the transmission uses the Heel and Toe method – for your information, heel and toe is a driving technique in which you turn your right foot inwards, using your toes to operate the brakes and your heel to increase the throttle as you lower the gear. In this way, when approaching a corner, the brake is applied to reduce the speed when entering, and the engine speed is increased in advance by shifting to a lower gear at the moment of acceleration by pressing the accelerator pedal again, helping to quickly exiting the corner.
Launch control is a function that helps to achieve optimal performance and accelerate by controlling the engine and transmission from a standstill. When you floor the accelerator, the system maintains the engine speed at which the maximum torque is exerted by itself and charges the turbocharger to maximize the acceleration performance. At this moment, the N DCT adjusts the clutch to an optimal state so that engine power is immediately transmitted to the wheels when the vehicle starts and does not spin. If you use the launch control, the time it takes to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h is reduced from 6.5 seconds to 6.2 seconds.
N Power Shift (NPS)
N Power Shift is a function for fun driving experience by controlling the engine speed when upshifting by flooring the accelerator in Sport or Sport+ driving mode; you feel that you are pushed back into your seat, which has been possible in a manual transmission.
In addition, the Sonata N Line changes the shifting pattern depending on the driving mode to enhance the driver’s sense of acceleration. When accelerating on hills, the appropriate gear is selected to ensure optimal acceleration, and when driving downhill, the engine brake is actively used to prevent the brake system from overheating. In addition, it maintains the gear level even if you take your foot off the accelerator when turning around a corner or accelerating, improving responsiveness when re-accelerating.
Active sound design
One of the elements that can indirectly feel the performance of the family sports sedan would be a powerful, roaring engine sound. The Sonata N Line’s active sound design is a device that produces the right sound depending on each condition related to the engine speed, torque, and speed. The system combines the sound from the two sources, engine and speaker, then tune it so that the driver and passenger can enjoy the dynamic and exciting engine sound.
N performance parts for enhanced driving performance
The Sonata N line models house N performance parts that incorporate the technology that Hyundai achieved through the global motorsports and N model development. N Performance Parts is a custom tuning product that resembles that of the high-performance N brand vehicles, and consists of packages related to driving performance, interior and exterior styles. For the Sonata N line, you can choose from monoblock brakes and 19-inch lightweight wheel packages, N Performance suspension, and carbon rear spoilers. Monoblock brake & 19-inch lightweight wheel package secures the braking capability required for dynamic driving with mono-block 4P caliper, hybrid disc, and low steel pad, and improves ride comfort and handling performance by combining 19-inch lightweight wheels with a new design. The N Performance suspension contains a monotube shock absorber and a red lowering spring kit that implements sporty driving performance by optimizing the spring constant.
As such, the Sonata N line provides the best driving sensation in its class through various items that maximize performance and stimulate the driver’s emotions. The Sonata N Line is a family sports sedan that can also be used as a comfortable family car. Hyundai Motor Company has been expanding the application of the N line to various compact models such as the i30 N line, the Avante(Elantra) N line, and the Kona N line. More and more drivers would enjoy the glimpse of the high-performance N through the mid-sized Sonata N line.
Photograph. Jin-Ho Choi