New 2021 Hyundai Kona N spied undisguised

Covers come off latest Hyundai N-division project - the Kona N is a compact SUV with power from the i30 N

Hyundai is readying a full reveal of the new Kona N - a new performance SUV rival for everything from the Volkswagen T-Roc R, Audi SQ2 and BMW X2 M35i, to the new Ford Puma ST, which will be on sale in the UK this summer.

The Kona N is due to be revealed later this spring, but these new spy shots are our first unofficial glimpse of the car free of its covers. Caught completely undisguised, the Kona N appears to have been spied on a film shoot for promotional launch material, ahead of the big reveal.

At first glance, it looks as though the Kona N will be a little more expressive than the i30 N and new i20 N supermini, with a makeover that places even more distance between it and the regular Kona line-up. 

Not only does it get trademark N touches, such as red pinstriping, aggressive looking grille-work, new aerodynamic fins and a bodykit taken from the Kona N-Line, it also has a huge pair of exhausts and large, black alloy wheels. It’s all integrated into a new look based on a facelift to the standard Kona introduced in 2020. 

The spy shots tally with a series of revealing teaser images issued by Hyundai earlier this month.

At the rear, there’s a larger diffuser which is home to a purposeful-looking twin-exit exhaust system. A large spoiler, fitted with the company’s trademark triangular high-level brake light, finds its way onto the hatch lid, while red pinstriping is applied around the car’s lower edges.

The entire car also sits lower to the ground than the standard model thanks to a sportier suspension set-up and, behind the new alloy wheels, there’s a larger set of discs and uprated calipers.

A limited-slip differential, launch control and a set of sticky Pirelli tyres will all feature. Meanwhile, inside, buyers should get a similar level of equipment to the i30 N, with a pair of figure-hugging sports seats, a new sports steering wheel and an aluminium pedal box.

Hyundai has confirmed that the Kona N will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the i30 N. There’s also confirmation that the Kona will be exclusively available with the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox recently introduced to the i30 N line-up; the hot hatchback’s six-speed manual transmission won’t be offered.

Performance figures have yet to be released but, as it shares the same engine as the i30 N, the Kona N should have at least 247bhp as standard. However, there’s scope for even more grunt, because Hyundai’s range-topping i30 N Performance pack increases the engine’s output to 271bhp and 378Nm of torque.

The Kona N will join an expanded line-up of performance models from Hyundai’s hot offshoot, with the new i20 N hot hatchback also arriving in Europe soon. Prices should start from a Ford Puma ST-rivalling £27,000. 

Would you choose a Kona N over a Ford Puma ST? Let us know in the comments...

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