Performance At A Bargain
If there's one thing Hyundai started to understand with models like the Genesis Coupe, it was performance at a bargain and with Albert Biermann's help they've been able to carry that on to the Elantra Sport. Starting at just over $22 000 with the performance numbers its churning out below, this is where your dollars are best spent.
Don’t let the boring name fool you, this is Hyundai’s bargain-basement performance sedan, one with a 201 horsepower turbo four-cylinder engine and a stick. And it may have just beaten the Ford Fiesta ST as the most performance you can get for your dollar. No joke.
- Jalopnik.comPower in the Elantra Sport is claimed at 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque from the 1.6-liter turbo. That’s 54 horsepower more than a standard Elantra. The extra go-juice is sent to the front-wheels via either a six-speed manual like in the one I had, or Hyundai’s very own seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Actually, after Volkswagen, Hyundai is the only carmaker to offer a dual-clutch option in this segment.
Of course, the stick is the one you want. The turbo-manual combo will get the Elantra Sport to 60 mph in a claimed 6.4 seconds. That’s 0.5 seconds slower than a manual-equipped Golf GTI, but 0.2 seconds quicker than a Jetta GLI. In comparison, a base manual Civic LX hatch pulls the same stunt in 6.5 seconds.
Let that one sink in for a minute.
Still, that’s quick enough, don’t you find? I mean, the Elantra’s up there, punching in the same ring as the best of them. So as far as power goes, Hyundai’s little sport sedan delivers.
And that little four-banger sure knows how to round up a solid punch. You’ll need to keep that turbo spooling though, because everything happens between 3,000 and 6,000 RPM, where the engine suddenly runs out of puff. There’s absolutely no point in ringing this engine all the way to its 7,000 RPM redline, because all it’ll do is make your ears bleed.
Looks The Part
With Biermann’s background at BMW's M division its easy to see how that influenced design all throughout the interior and exterior, a well overdue change to see in this entry-level segment. Features like the D-cut steering wheel, performance inspired accents, sport looking cluster and red stitching accents define what a sport interior should look like.
- Cars.comWhile certainly fun enough to drive to justify its moniker, the Elantra Sport really sells its sportiness with styling. Our Galactic Gray test car wore 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a front grille with "Turbo" badging, lower bumper area and side sill extensions, as well as lower rear body elements and a diffuser with dual exhaust.
Interior flourishes abound in the cabin, including black-on-black leather upholstery with contrast red stitching on the bolstered-and-badged sports seats and shifter boot; a chunky, flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in leather and also contrast stitched; a sporty instrument gauge cluster; aluminum-alloy pedals, including a large dead pedal; carbon-fiber-like trim on the door panels and dash; and a black headliner.
- MotorTrend.comIn the past, Hyundai fell into the mild upgrade camp because the Sport was largely an appearance package. But in 2015, the automaker hired Albert Biermann from BMW’s M performance division to install new processes and ways of looking at vehicle dynamics. By making Sport models live up to their name, he’s making them a warm-up for the launch of Hyundai’s sports car sub-brand, which will be named N for Namyang after the Korean R & D center and proving ground. N will make its debut in 2018 starting with a completely overhauled and reinvented Veloster.
Biermann’s handiwork is evident in the 2017 Elantra Sport, which was designed from the outset to set itself apart from the rest of the Elantra family. The Sport has a more aggressive face with a blacked-out hexagonal grille, standard HID headlights, and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lights. From the side, you see the deeper rocker panels, and the wheels have grown to 18 inches and wear 225/40R18 Hankook Ventus S1 Noble Ultra High Performance all-season tires. (Other models range from 15- to 17-inch wheels.) The back has a unique rear fascia, dual chrome exhaust outlets, standard LED taillights, and a rear decklid.
Suspension has been reportedly impressive on bumpy city roads. While that is great for daily commutes, the multi-link rear suspension and 15mm rear stabilizer bar mated to what Hyundai dubs the 'SUPERSTRUCTURE' makes for some impressive handling so far.
- MotorTrend.comWhat really matters is whether Biermann improved the dynamics. Hyundai ripped up the back end to swap out the coupled torsion beam axle for a multilink rear suspension and added a rear stabilizer bar. It has higher spring rates, stiffer damping, larger front brake rotors, and more insulation to reduce noise and vibration. We got to test its mettle over a 280-mile drive through Death Valley with some uneven pavement, and it showcased a spirited but comfortable ride.
- Hyundai USASUPERHANDLING
Constructed using a greater amount of Advanced High Strength Steel forged in our own steel mill,* the rigid composition of the SUPERSTRUCTURE' enables more precise tuning of key suspension components. After all, creating a work of art requires a steady canvas. Experience improved cornering stability, precise handling performance and enhanced confidence at higher speeds.
No one is expecting this to be a technology showcase but Hyundai did include enough to keep up with the market. Blind Sport Detection with Land Change Assist and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert give you some extra safety tools behind the wheel. Inside you can enjoy Android Auto or Apple Car Play accessible through an 8" infotainment screen, Navigation included.
- Hyundai USAAndroid Auto & Apple Car Play
Stay connected with the entertainment you love and the information you need. Elantra Sport's standard Android Auto' and Apple Car Play" lets you interact with your smartphone's maps, texts, music and more using voice commands, all while your eyes remain on the road, where they belong.
8" Touch-Screen Navigation System
Enjoy high-resolution maps along with easy-to-follow directions thanks to an available 8" touch-screen navigation system.
Infinity Premium Audio System
The available Infinity° 315-watt premium audio system with 8 speakers and an external amplifier adds more power and presence to your favorite music.
Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist
Capable of sensing an automobile approaching a driver's blind spot, the standard Blind Spot Detection provides both an audible and visual alert to help reduce the potential for a collision. This feature works in conjunction with the Lane Change Assist, which measures the closing speed of traffic approaching in adjacent lanes to help determine if a lane change is safe.
Rear-Cross Traffic Alert
When reverse gear is selected, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert helps identify and warn the driver of vehicles approaching from the side, even before they come into view of the standard rearview camera.
You can finally look forward to reversing thanks to the 2017 Elantra Sport's Reverse camera. The dynamic guidelines move on the screen as you turn the steering wheel, showing the angle of the vehicle to help guide you.
Pricing & Options
To get everything talked about in this article, forking out an extra $2,400 for the Premium Package is required. Already the $22,000 starting price is easy to absorb and is good enough for most potential buyers but its hard to pass up on those certain luxuries included when going Premium.
- MotorTrend.comHyundai thinks one in 10 Elantra buyers will go for the Sport, especially as there are no plans to offer a hatchback. The Elantra Sport with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $22,485, and Hyundai thinks 30–40 percent of buyers will opt for the stick that shifts smoothly with a nice feel and weight. With the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and paddles, it has a starting price of $23,585. Add the $2,400 Premium package (even with the manual) to get navigation, a sunroof, an upgraded sound system, dual-zone climate control, and Hyundai’s Blue Link connected-car suite. Choice of color, transmission, and one package are the only decisions for a buyer to make. The price puts it thousands of dollars below a Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Sport also competes against the outgoing Honda Civic Si and the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo.