Hyundai’s New-for 2022 Kona N has been revealed along with the previously-announced Kona, but this time supposedly without masking. A glimpse was provided to tease viewers, and heighten the hype around what they’re calling an addition to their high-performance N division.
When an automaker has a designation such as Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division, or BMW’s M cars, the assumption is a much higher level of performance and sophistication. So far, the N in this Hyundai isn’t described as much more than a styling tweak here or there as it would if it were an N-line vehicle, and that’s been it for their self-proclaimed motorsport inspiration. With Hyundai Motorsport’s World Rally Championship team winning a second consecutive Manufacturers’ title last year, or as our astute readers pointed out, the differences between the i30N, i30 Fastback N, or Veloster N and their base models, there’s plenty of inspiration, it just doesn’t appear to have made its way to this model yet. But given the difference between the N and N-Line (the former is a performance trim, the other usually signifies an appearance package), it’s almost a given it will.
It’s difficult to get too excited about the headlights or the shape of the grille, and how it was inspired by the fuselage of an airplane. Maybe if it was related to the Kona N’s higher top end speed, or the N logo on the grille was good for another 50 HP, that might raise our level of interest.
If they’ve learned nothing from the Japanese or European marques, it’s that a large double-wing roof spoiler does not make it a performance car. A third triangular brake light is also supposedly competition-inspired, but exactly how? The Kona N dual exhaust mufflers aren’t called out because they are less restrictive and good for 3-5 HP over that of the base Kona, any more than a large diffuser on the rear bumper does anything other than maybe catch road debris.
Body-colored fenders are a big deal on certain Jeep models, but much less so on the Kona N, other than to visually bring them closer to the ground, something a set of lowering springs would actually do. If the Kona N is expected to join Hyundai’s N division, it’s going to take a lot more than they’ve divulged so far.
[Images: Hyundai Motor America]