The new, high-performance Hyundai Kona N is now available to order in the UK with prices starting at just over £35,000. The go-faster compact SUV comes with a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
With a total of 276 bhp at the beck and call of the accelerator pedal, the front-drive Kona N will sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds before accelerating on to 149 mph. Driven more sedately, the car will return 33.2 mpg on the official economy test.
Aside from the high-powered engine, the Kona N comes with clever gearbox technology to make the most of its power. The N Power Shift (NPS) technology engages only at more than 90 percent throttle, mitigating drops in torque during upshifts, while the intriguingly named N Grin Shift (NGS) maximises engine and gearbox performance for 20 seconds, shifting down to the most appropriate gear for maximum power. After the 'boost' has ended, drivers must wait at least 40 seconds to use it again.
For track driving, meanwhile, N Track Sense Shift (NTS) optimises gear shifts to help the driver focus on steering. Based on motorsport data and the driver’s behaviour, the car selects the right gear and shift timing to provide "optimal performance".
Those systems are also joined by the Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS) system, which allows drivers to choose how stuff the suspension should be. And there's an N Corner Carving Differential, which is essentially an electronically-controlled limited slip differential that splits the torque between the wheels to reduce understeer during fast cornering.
In addition to all that, the Kona N is marked out by its sportier bumpers, red exterior trim features and lowered ride height, as well as the red brake callipers that lurk behind 19-inch alloy wheels. At the back, there's a bigger rear spoiler and a diffuser, plus a triangular centre brake light.
Inside, the Kona N boasts blue colour accents and N-specific seats, with a sportier steering wheel, shift knob and metal pedals. It’s also equipped with a 10-inch infotainment screen and a digital cluster system featuring a "racing" head-up display.
Also included with the £35,395 sticker price are wireless phone charging, parking sensors and a reversing camera. A "smart" key, adaptive cruise control and a Krell eight-speaker premium audio system also come as standard.
“In a short space of time the Hyundai N brand has developed a fiercely loyal and enthusiastic following for its dedication to performance as well as usability," said Ashley Andrew, the managing director of Hyundai Motor UK. "Kona N follows in the footsteps of i30 N and i20 N by delivering a driving experience that, we believe, is more thrilling than any competitors and, as confirmed by this latest announcement, at a price that represents extremely good value for money.”