Hyundai has used the Chicago Auto Show to unveil its newest play at American hatchback supremacy. Europeans might know it as the i30 but Hyundai likes to do things differently in the US, launching the warmed-over Elantra GT Sport with a 200 hp (149 kW) engine and purist-pleasing six-speed manual gearbox. The Golf GTI won't be losing any sleep, but the good-looking warm hatch bodes well for the incoming i30N.
When it came time for the team at Hyundai America to turn the regular European i30 into the hotter Elantra GT Sport, the formula was relatively simple. Rather than running with the range-topping 138 hp (103 kW) 1.4-liter turbo on offer elsewhere, the GT Sport is fitted with a 1.6-liter turbo punching out 201 hp (150 kW) of power and 265 Nm of torque. Sure, they're not full "hot hatch" numbers, but they make the car a more practical hatchback alternative to the VW Jetta GLI or Hyundai's own Elantra Sport.
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Power is put to the road through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but purists (and those with restless left legs) will want the six-speed manual.
Of course, for the Elantra GT Sport to be considered a true member of the warm hatch club, it will need to know how to handle a set of corners. It certainly seems like Hyundai has done everything it can to make that happen – gone is the torsion beam rear end from standard cars, and in its place is a fully-independent multilink setup. Combined with the stiffer, lighter new body and bigger brakes, the Sport should be able to get up and dance when the driver demands it.
Inside, Hyundai has focused on making everything you lay your hands on feel expensive. It's a trick Volkswagen manages to pull off in the Golf, and one the Elantra appears to have nailed – based on a brief poke around the cabin of an i30 at the Paris Motor Show, the trim and materials are all up to European standards.
Materials aside, the Elantra interior is loaded with all the technology Hyundai has. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, and wireless charging is there to make sure your phone never goes flat. On the driver-assist side of things, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist are all standard, as are blind-spot warnings and rear-cross traffic assist.
Hyundai hasn't announced pricing for the new Elantra GT Sport, but the car is on display at the Chicago Auto Show at the moment. Check out the car on the move in the video below.