2019 Hyundai Veloster N Review - Save The Manuals! By Larry Nutson
This is why you learned to drive stick
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
In just their third race in the competitive IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series, Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) scored their first victory at Mid-Ohio with one of two 350-horsepower 2.0-L turbocharged Veloster N TCR race cars they are campaigning this season.
Now you can’t walk into a showroom and buy one of these race cars. However, you can buy the street-version 275-horsepower Veloster N, Hyundai’s highest performance vehicle ever for the U.S. market.
The Veloster N is the first in a series of new vehicles coming from Hyundai’a N-brand under the direction of Albert Biermann, president and head of Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division. Biermann is the former head of BMW’s M division.
The N-brand’s name represents Namyang, Korea, home of Hyundai’s engineering center, as well as Germany’s Nürburgring race course where the vehicle dynamics were fine-tuned. As an aside, the stylized letter “N” also represents a chicane.
My first stint behind the wheel of the Veloster N was at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. I got to put the Veloster N through the paces on Road America’s 4-mile track, in a timed autocross competition and also on some of the twisty-windy country roads in the surrounding country side.
Thanks to Hyundai, I couldn’t have had a better first driving experience with this 275-HP pocket-rocket.
The front-wheel drive “N” is only available with a six-speed manual transmission with the base model rated at 250-HP and priced at $26,900. The hot ticket is the optional Performance Package that turns up the power to 275-HP for $2,100 additional. Also added in the Performance Package is an active exhaust system, oversize brakes, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and 8-inch wide 19-inch wheels fitted with specially designed Pirelli P Zero 235/35 tires.
All Veloster Ns have adaptive dampers and selectable drive modes with differentiating engine throttle response, engine speed rev-matching, exhaust note, active differential tuning, suspension damping rates, steering feel and yaw-control characteristics.
As engine speed approaches redline, the N-design center cluster displays a progressive sequential shift indicator, alerting the driver of an impending shift point for maximum acceleration. A steering wheel mounted switch activates electronic rev matching.
Zero to sixty for the 275-HP Veloster N is in less than six-seconds. Top speed is 155 mph.
There’s plenty of fun-to-drive packed into the Veloster N with precise control through corners, plenty of race track capability while also being quite docile around town. I’ve driven cars that I call “street legal” race cars which can be a bit much for everyday driving. The Veloster N is not that.
Standard equipment includes 8-inch audio display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, premium audio, LED headlights and taillights, Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car Service, proximity key with push button start, and automatic temperature control.
“The Veloster N is another example of Hyundai’s capabilities, offering a comprehensive degree of exterior and interior features and thrilling dynamics in an exciting sports car,” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, during a presentation at the MAMA Spring Rally.
On the outside the Veloster N has a unique N-design front fascia and grille with dedicated front air ducts for enhanced brake cooling, exclusive N-design rocker side sills, larger N-design rear spoiler, rear fascia design with integrated diffuser, and performance-diameter, high-flow dual exhaust.
The cabin features exclusive N-design front cloth sport seats with performance-focused bolstering, N-design steering wheel, shift knob, N-logo metallic door sill plates, and N-design electroluminescent instrument cluster. Interior details are accented by an N performance blue accent theme on the seat belts, instrument panel and seats.
Needless to say, my second drive in the Veloster N around my Chicago home had me chasing freeway cloverleafs as well as desolate country roads. The engine produces plenty of torque that Hyundai gets to the pavement through front suspension lower roll angle and zero-scrub radius geometry. Steering is very direct and linear. Electronic control reduces dive during braking and rear suspension compression under hard acceleration.
Like all Velosters there’s a practical side to the N-model with seating for four, nearly 20 cu.ft. of cargo space under the rear hatch, and a compact 168 inch length making for easy maneuvering. EPA test-cycle ratings are 25 mpg combined, with 22 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. I didn’t do well on fuel consumption (go figure) with 19 mpg overall. I did get 27 mpg and a nice highway run. More details on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N can be found at www.hyundai.com.
In case you should have interest in your own Veloster N racer, Bryan Herta Autosport is the designated sales agent for Hyundai TCR customer race cars. The Veloster N TCR can be ordered for €135,000 plus shipping. That’s about $154,000 at current exchange rates.
Save the manuals!
© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy