A new batch of spy photos indicates that Hyundai is deep into development on a big styling update for the Sonata. It even appears the brand is hard at work on a sporty trim – possibly with input from its N performance sub-brand.

Both versions are in the gallery below, and the differences are easy to spot. The standard Sonata has a new grille that extends the current horizontal slats further down the front end. There are also restyled headlights and what appear to be vertically oriented LED running lights at each corner of the lower fascia. There are also restyled taillights at the back, but the camouflage hides any other adjustments.

The sporty trim (above) features upgrades like a black mesh grille with a different lower fascia. The camouflage on this one also makes easier to see the reshaped headlights. At the rear trapezoidal exhausts exit from each corner.

It’s not clear whether this performance variant is a replacement for the current Sonata 2.0T with 245 horsepower (183 kilowatts) and 260 pound-feet (353 Newton-meters) of torque or a new range-topping model. Hyundai’s i30 N currently under development also has a turbocharged 2.0-liter with at least 260 hp (194 kW) and likely more. The company could conceivably put this more powerful mill in the sporty Sonata.

Hyundai already announced minor changes for the 2017 model year Sonata. Therefore, this refresh probably doesn’t arrive until at least the 2018 examples, which would be about a year from now. That timeframe suggests a debut at an auto show in early 2017.

Gallery: Hyundai Sonata and N Variant Spy Photos

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