After some speculation this past April, Hyundai has confirmed that the 2017 Elantra is going to be getting a Sport model by the end of this year. Unlike some of the “sport” trims of the past that were largely stickers or value packs, this time there’s some filling to back up the name.
The Elantra Sport will get a 1.6L four that gets a turbocharger to boost it to over 200 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. That isn’t an exact power figure but it’s a bump of at least 53 hp over the 2.0L base engine. There is a choice of a six-speed manual, or a unique to the sport model seven-speed dual clutch automatic with paddle shifters.
The model even gets a unique rear suspension, with a multilink independent rear replacing the beam axle of the normal car. This should provide improved handling, especially over mid-corner bumps or expansion joints. The car gets a subtle makeover with a slightly more aggressive grille, subtle side sills, and a revised rear bumper. The look is more VW GTI subtle than Ford Focus ST bold, even if it will be playing in a power league slightly below that pair.
Inside, the Sport gets a flat-bottom steering wheel and contrast stitching to let you know you’re in the quickest Elantra. The suspension changes should make it a more enjoyable drive, and the engine will certainly make it quicker, but we’ll have to wait until late fall to see where it fits in as a sportier compact sedan in a hot-hatch world.
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