2021 Hyundai Veloster N Gets Fast & Funky With a New Dual-Clutch Automatic!

According to my colleague Tony Borroz, Hyundai refers to the 2021 Veloster N as a “corner rascal.” I don’t know about that, but I’m privy to the fact the Veloster N is a firecracker of a small car – it has all the right elements of a compact, fun-to-drive, and relatively economical hatchback.

Granted the Veloster N is not as powerful as, say, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI from the early 2000s. Still, it has a turbocharged engine and a six-speed manual transmission: two essential elements to ensure some old-school driving pleasure.

But alas! The 2021 Hyundai Veloster N is arriving with an optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. The six-speed manual is still standard, but Hyundai’s newest N Eight-Speed Wet Dual-Clutch Transmission (N DCT) is expected to double the fun factor.

Paddle Shifters Are Also Standard

Yeah, yeah, I know. Back 10 years ago, having paddle shifters in a new car meant extra bragging rights. But now, it seems the majority of new models come with paddle shifters, which makes it passé in my book.

And yes, the new Veloster N’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic comes with steering-mounted paddle shifters (better than those pesky column-mounted paddles), but what catches my attention is the brilliant machinery operating underneath.

2021 Hyundai Veloster N interior layout (Korean-spec model shown).
2021 Hyundai Veloster N interior layout (Korean-spec model shown). Photo: Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

 The Nth Degree

I’m not an engineer, but my strong aeronautical background is fueled by my desire to learn and appreciate all things mechanical. Hyundai’s newest N DCT dual-clutch automatic is built in-house by a dedicated team of engineers. With a desire to make the car more exciting to drive, Hyundai decided to forego the “dry” route and went for a “wet” dual-clutch unit instead.

With that in mind, there’s a reason why the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron have WDCT or wet dual-clutch transmission units. Wet clutches are soaking in oil and are more resistant to excess friction and overheating. As such, the units can handle higher torque loads since they run cooler than a dry dual-clutch.

In the Hyundai Veloster N, an electric oil pump ensures better thermal endurance and less parasitic drag. “Veloster N demonstrates Hyundai’s approach to high-performance cars,” said Thomas Schemera, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor. “By equipping Veloster N with N DCT, drivers get performance and convenience at the same time.”

N Eight-Speed Wet Dual-Clutch Transmission.
N Eight-Speed Wet Dual-Clutch Transmission as designed by Hyundai. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

N Grin Shift Mode

We’re not saying the Veloster N’s standard manual stick is not good enough. In fact, the manual comes with an optional rev-matching feature to make novices feel like Lewis Hamilton. But Hyundai’s N-DCT eight-speed dual-clutch unit has a few tricks up its sleeve, and it starts with the new N Grin Shift Mode.

According to Hyundai, N Grin Shift (NGS) Mode is a game-like feature to further enhance the fun. You can think of NGS like the “over-boost” mode in a 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S. It allows the turbocharger to enter into an over-boost mode for 20 seconds. The result is more torque so you can bully your way around slow-moving traffic.

Additionally, Hyundai’s N DCT has N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift. The former activates when the pedal is pushed 90 percent of the way. And then, it utilizes blazing-fast upshifts to send max power to the driving wheels for each gear change. Meanwhile, the latter analyzes road conditions and your driving style to better optimize the shift points.

Best of all, these features are configurable using the standard eight-inch infotainment display. “Anyone who wants a fun driving experience will jump at the chance to pilot the new Veloster N – an everyday sports car with racetrack capabilities,” Schemera added.

2021 Hyundai Veloster N
2021 Hyundai Veloster N. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Standard Turbo Power

In today’s automotive landscape, turbos make the world go round. The 2021 Veloster N has a 2.0-liter inline turbo four-cylinder producing 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. The optional Performance pack increases engine output to 275 horsepower. With the optional N DCT transmission, the new Veloster N catapults to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds faster than the manual version.

Standard are N Light sport seats that are 4.4 lbs. lighter despite having illuminated N logos on the backrests. Nice.

Advanced Safety Features

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster N also comes with a number of advanced driver assistance features. Included are lane following assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, rear cross-traffic collision warning, and blind-spot collision avoidance. You won’t need these on a racetrack, but it’s a different story on busy streets and highways.

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