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It was last month when we spied a refreshed version of the Hyundai Kona out testing and today we have a new batch of spy shots with the model. However, these new photos are far more exciting as they depict the performance N variant of the crossover. Join us as we take out first look at the future Kona flagship.

The prototype here wears full-body camouflage hiding its N-specific tweaks and our photographers told us the performance crossover will be based on the facelifted model. Despite the heavy disguise, a few important touches remain visible, including the wider wheel arches, Brembo brakes with red calipers, and massive dual exhaust pipes at the back. Interestingly, Hyundai is benchmarking the Kona N against a Cupra Ateca, which is a bigger and more expensive SUV.

We first heard about the South Korean automaker’s plans for a sporty Kona in May 2018, when it was reported a prototype of the model was already developed, despite the lack of a production green light. Apparently, as these spy photos confirm, the project has finally been approved for production and is now in a more advanced stage of development.

According to preliminary details, the Kona N will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine shared with the i30N. In the hot hatch, the motor generates 275 horsepower (205 kilowatts) and 260 pound-feet (352 Newton-meters) and it is expected to gain a bit more power when the facelifted i30 debuts. Whether the Kona N will rely on the pre-facelift engine or will benefit from its reworked version, it remains unclear at this point. As far as the transmissions are concerned, expect a choice between a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

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Word on the street is Hyundai will reveal the Kona N this summer and will release it on the market as a 2021 model.

Photos: CarPix

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