In an attempt to broaden the appeal of the manual-only Veloster N performance hatchback, Hyundai has announced the addition of an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission for the 2021 model year. The announcement was made late yesterday on the Korean sub-brand’s Instagram page, following two posts hinting that changes were coming for the sublime hot hatch.
In addition to confirming the new wet-clutch gearbox, we noticed something called “Grin Shift” on the center screen of the dashboard. While we’re not sure what that is, we’re wondering about the possibility of an over-boost function, possibly dolling out a temporary jump in horsepower at the push of a button. Not that the 250 horsepower (or 275, if you opt for the performance package) already available in the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder isn’t enough, but we’re never going to say no to more horsepower—even the fleeting kind.
Also noteworthy from the announcement video: The front two seats look like they’re going to get light-up N badges, although there’s no word yet on whether or not those features will be standard.
It’s a logical next step for a car that has a very limited audience to begin with. While Hagerty is working hard to preserve the manual transmission and stoke enthusiasm around it, there’s no denying that adding a two-pedal option will broaden the hatch’s buyer base. We’re bullish on the Veloster N as it is; Hyundai snatched Albert Biermann, widely considered the father of BMW’s M brand, to mastermind it. Our first drive confirmed what we’d hoped would be the case: The telepathic chassis and steering tuning that made rides like the E30 BMW M3 so great lived on in this quirky, Korean three-door hatch back—now with extra exhaust pops.
There’s no word yet on pricing for the dual-clutch option. In Hyundai’s Elantra GT N-Line hatchback, opting for the dual-clutch automatic over the standard six-speed manual will set you back an additional $1100. That said, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison; the DCT previewed on the Veloster N is an eight-speed, likely an all-new unit. But don’t be surprised to find paddle shifters commanding something near a $1500 premium over the clutch pedal. A Hyundai spokesperson confirmed the change but said that no further details were available at this time, so we’ll have to sit tight and wait for now.
At the end of the day, we’ll taking the manual ten times out of ten, but we’re equally enthusiastic to see any brand bringing attainable performance cars to the masses. Don’t let the paddles keep you away—the Veloster N is a hoot no matter how it shifts.