2019 Hyundai Veloster N First Drive: Taking It To The Nth

There’s a momentary mental disconnect as the pace car in front of me has just taken off – I depress the clutch, row into first, and the 19-inch 235/35 Pirelli P-Zeros spin and I enter the world’s most daunting track, Germany’s famed Nürburgring.

Almost immediately we’re in second gear, up to third, fourth. I lift-off before downshifting past Hohenrain and burbles and pops immediately engulf the cabin. This isn’t an Mercedes-AMG or an Aston Martin making that sound, mind you, it’s a Hyundai. More specifically, it’s the first of Hyundai’s performance models, one we’ll see later this year in the U.S. and elsewhere: the Veloster N.

Hyundai Finally Builds A Hot Hatch:

Europe has already launched its version, called the i30 N (known here in the U.S. as the Elantra GT), and it’s been well-received from the outset over there in performance-hatch, wagon, and coupe dreamland. And what about the Veloster N? How did we get here exactly? It merits a quick glance back.

Seven years ago, in 2011, the Hyundai Veloster arrived. It was a quirky, front-wheel-drive, three-door (coupe on the driver’s side, traditional two-door hatch on the passenger’s side) entry with alluring Euro-hatch styling and a bit of promise. It delivered in the way all Hyundais were starting to at the time, laden with features and value, but its performance was a little underwhelming, beyond a get-about-town ca...