Hyundai ups the ante on sporty Elantra GT

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
The wraps come off the Hyundai Elantra GT N Line in its debut Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show.

Detroit — Hyundai Motor Co. has recalibrated its sporty trim for an even stiffer ride on its Elantra GT.

The Korean automaker on Monday debuted its first N Line model in the United States with the promise of more to come. The 2019 Elantra GT N Line replaces the 2018 Elantra GT Sport with newly tuned shocks and steering.

It is geared toward millennials who are looking for expression and performance, said Micheal O'Brien, vice president of product, corporate and digital planning at Hyundai North America. It's also a signal the automaker has no plans to leave the sedan space.

"We’re still all-in," O'Brien said. "They’re still our core-volume products. ... We already feel we're at the right size now. "

The four-door compact hatchback’s N Line model that was unveiled at the Detroit auto show is one notch below Hyundai’s top-of-the-line N product portfolio that includes the Veloster N, i30N and i30 Fastback N. From them, it borrows features such as a lower front spoiler, blacked-out side mirrors with turn signals and a bumper that accentuates the N theme.

Other elements are unique to the N Line trim, including a different version of Hyundai’s cascading grille with a silver character line and other N Line badging. The 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged-GDI engine model with six-speed manual transmission comes shod with Michelin Pilot Sport tires on 18-inch wheels. A seven-speed dual clutch transmission with larger steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is available as an option.

Heated leather sport seats come standard and feature the N logo. Red stitching and accents differentiate the N Line model from the standard Elantra GT.

The Elantra GT N Line has multi-link independent rear suspension with larger front and rear brake rotors. Like the Sport trim, the vehicle produces 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.

A technology package offers an eight-inch screen with Hyundai’s 5.0 AVN infotainment system with navigation. Safety features include forward-collision avoidance assist, lane-keep assist and driver-attention warning.

The 2019 Elantra GT and Elantra GT N Line are on sale now for $20,540 and $23,300 respectively.

Also extending its customer motorsports program, Hyundai unveiled the 350-horsepower Veloster N RCT. The racecar will be operated by Bryan Herta Autosport next week at the 2019 International Motor Sports Association Michelin Pilot Challenge. It will face the Honda Civic Type R TCR, Volkswagen GTI TCR and the Audi RS3 LMS TCR.

Journalists check out the Hyundai Elantra GT N Line after its reveal at the North American International Auto Show media preview day.

The two suped-up Velosters are Hyundai's second venture into racing after it won the TCR class team and manufacturing championships last year at the Pirelli World Challenge with the i30 N TCR.

"It's got the same platform as last year's championship-winning car," Herta said, "with a number of incremental tweaks and upgrades that will make it even faster."