Auto Express was the first to confirm that the Hyundai Kona was set to receive the brand’s hot N treatment back in May 2018. Just under two years later, the project has gathered more pace and a production version nears closer – as these latest spy shots show.
The images show the upcoming VW T-Roc R rival undergoing high performance testing around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Though the prototype wears a heavy disguise, many of the upgraded features are clear: the alloy wheels are significantly larger than those used by standard Konas, while the ride height has dropped significantly, too.
The large bulge in the rear cladding suggests that a large roof spoiler will be added, while a pair of huge oval tailpipes can be seen poking out from the rear bumper.
Albert Biermann, the man in charge of Hyundai’s N sub-brand, told Auto Express in 2018 that his engineers had already started work on a test mule of the vehicle a couple of years ago, 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.
That means we can expect at least 247bhp from the Kona N, though the hottest ‘Performance’ variant makes 271bhp. Speaking in 2018 Biermann told us: “It has to be the i30 N powertrain, really. 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 to see a new performance version of the Hyundai Kona? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…