Back in November, reports surfaced claiming the upcoming Hyundai Sonata for the 2020 model year will have two variants: an N and an N-Line. But during the recent media drive for the model in Arizona, where members of the press were given the opportunity to drive a pre-production prototype of the Sonata N-Line, the automaker confirmed it will be the only performance variant of the soon-to-arrive model.
“The Sonata will be an N-Line. We have a distinction between our N-Line and N vehicles. N vehicles are truly capable of sustained track activities,” said Derek Joyce, senior manager of Product PR for N models at Hyundai.
The executive further explained that an “N-Line has unique tires, wheels, and suspension, but not necessarily developed for track thermal levels.” Simply put, an N-Line model is not built for sustained track activities that include “braking and thermal.” It is not capable to withstand repeated laps in a race track without the risk of overheating the engine or brakes.
“At this time there are only plans for an N-Line Sonata,” Joyce added. “That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be [a Sonata N] in the future, but we can’t comment on future products.”
Joyce’s statements suggest that the upcoming Sonata is not track-ready enough to qualify as an N product for Hyundai, hence the decision to give it an N-Line badge.
But this is not to say the Sonata N-Line is not nearly as good as Hyundai’s N models. The new Sonata will be powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 290 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It will be configured with four-wheel-drive mated to an eight-speed dual transmission.
The setup makes the Sonata N-Line a direct competitor of the Honda Accord 2.0T, Mazda 2.5T, and Toyota Camry V6. Should the automaker decide to give the Sonata an N variant in the future, though, it will be positioned alongside the Veloster N.