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2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line sharpens up an already knife-edged sedan

The seventh generation of Hyundai's mainstay sedan is poised to get an even sportier and snarlier appearance.

"N Line" in Hyundai-speak connotes more athletic looks and slight performance upgrades that stop short of a full-blown N model.

Hyundai

While we haven't had the chance to drive the 2021 Hyundai Elantra yet, we recently got some time in and around the crisply styled new compact sedan on our home turf, and its avant-garde looks and comprehensive tech hand have us pretty excited. But what has us even more intrigued is the company's sportier-looking Elantra N Line model.

Previewed here in this series of shadowy teaser images, the Elantra N Line shouldn't be confused with a full-fat, high-performance Elantra N, a model we're also hoping still happens. N Line models are designed to carry a lot of the aesthetic edge of Hyundai's most-athletic N models, but without their heftier price tags.

For this seventh-gen Elantra, that means unique visuals, including a revised mesh grille with N Line badges and a revamped air intake up front. In particular, the N Line's lower fascia looks much more aggressive than the standard Elantra, with a set of triple-chevron elements below the headlamps that give the nose of the car even more directional thrust.

In profile, you'll find a set of side skirts with glass-black N Line finishes on the side mirrors and window trims. The biggest visual change visible along the bodysides also portend improved performance: dramatic machine-faced and black-painted 18-inch alloy wheels shrouding larger brakes.

Out back, there's a revised lower fascia that allows for two round exhaust pipes to poke out of the passenger side (the standard Elantra keeps its exhausts hidden beneath the rear bumper trim).

The Elantra's tech-forward cabin will continue largely unchanged, though there will be a spate of "signature red accents inside and out," the automaker said in an official press release.

Like the standard 2021 Elantra, the N Line's design certainly won't be for everyone -- it's too involved and aggressive to blend in. For Hyundai, that seems to be exactly the point. With passenger-car sales on the wane globally amidst a ceaselessly rising tide of crossover SUVs, automakers are looking for ways to make their sedans stand out, and Hyundai's designers seem to have taken this notion to heart.

Beyond the aforementioned larger brakes, it's not clear what, if any additional performance-minded changes will take hold on the Elantra N Line, but a turbocharged engine with around 200 horsepower is rumored. It's also not exactly clear when customers can expect to see this new model in dealers. According to a Roadshow source, the N Line will carry a 2021 model-year designation, so it shouldn't be that far behind the standard Elantra gas and hybrid models.