Hyundai’s N performance boss Albert Biermann tells Auto Express he has instructed his engineers to develop a test mule version of the Kona to consider for production by the end of the decade. “I’ve told them to build the car and we’ll see what happens with it getting approved. It has to be the i30 N powertrain, really,” Biermann told the British website, adding that engineers could give the Kona different suspension and steering specs.
The i30 N is Hyundai’s not-for-America performance fastback and the N division’s first offering. It’s based off the i30, an overseas version of the Elantra GT, offered in three body styles — hatchback, wagon and “fastback” sedan — and fitted with a six-speed manual transmission. It has two engine options: the aforementioned 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a version generating 271 horsepower that will power the Veloster N, which will come stateside.
By contrast, the Kona has two engine possibilities: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 147 hp and 132 pound-feet of torque, or a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that does 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. So the N upgrade would represent a significant boost in power over either of those engines.
What other features could a Kona N offer? It could go the N route with a large grille, red-trimmed undercarriage, specialty badging and interior trim and suspension upgrades. Auto Express says upgrades could include a rear diffuser, small roof spoiler and exposed rear tailpipes.
Hyundai has sold 5,874 units of the Kona through April since going on sale in February. It also plans an all-electric version for 2019 that will only be offered in the longest-range version in America, which is estimated to go 250 miles on the U.S. test cycle. That version will also be offered in Europe where the estimate is 292 miles of driving range. An entry-level Kona Electric will also be available in Europe with and estimated 186 miles of range.