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Hot 2021 Hyundai Kona N SUV spied testing again

Hot Hyundai Kona N crossover spotted testing again, as Korean firm lines up 247bhp rival for the VW T-Roc R

Auto Express broke the news that the Hyundai Kona would get the brand’s hot N treatment back in May 2018, and two years on a production model is edging closer to fruition.

These latest spy shots serve up the best glimpse yet of the brand’s Volkswagen T-Roc R rival, following the test mule’s first appearance at the Nurburgring in March. Although still cladded in heavy camouflage, several of the black shrouds have been removed, revealing more exterior details.

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Most notably, the overhang above the windscreen has evolved into a spoiler, aiding aerodynamic performance. Meanwhile, the styling has clearly evolved on the tailgate and rear bumper, with the sportier approach designed to reflect the car’s performance credentials. As before, two large tailpipes stick out from the rear bumper.

At the front the detailing is harder to pick out, although the portion of the grille that’s visible clearly follows a different pattern to the standard car. From the profile of the test model, we can see that the alloy wheels are larger than normal, while the ride height has been lowered for better handling.

The wheels have changed since we last saw the Kona R, too: the new alloys have a more conventional, sporty design, beneath which we can see red brake callipers on both the front and rear axles.

In 2018, Albert Biermann, the former BMW M boss at the head of Hyundai’s research and development team, told Auto Express that his engineers had already started work on a test mule of the vehicle a couple of years before, in the hope that it could get approval for production. At the time, he also gave a strong hint at its likely engine: the 2.0-litre turbo petrol from the current i30 N.

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That means we can expect at least 247bhp from the Kona N, though the hottest ‘Performance’ variant makes 271bhp. “It has to be the i30 N powertrain, really,” Biermann told us. “Of course, we can give Kona different specifications on suspension and steering, although there are some common components we can use in that area as well, because it’ll be front-wheel drive, like the i30 N. But we already know that it has to be that car’s engine and gearbox for the Kona N, yes.”

The Kona N is likely to make its debut at the end of this year, at a similar time to the i20 N. Like the Kona, disguised prototypes of Hyundai’s Ford Fiesta ST rival have already been spotted testing at the Nurburgring. The recently-updated i30 range will soon gain revised versions of the N models, too.

Are you excited about the Hyundai Kona N? Let us know what you think in the comments section below...

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