Hyundai’s European arm is considering building higher performance versions of the i40 sedan and the i30 hatchback. Tweaked versions of cars are sold in the U.S. as the Sonata and Elantra GT, respectively, potentially opening the door to hotter Hyundais on our shores.
According to Autocar, Hyundai Europe COO Allan Rushforth said that the company must consider performance models “if we are to expand on being a good value, reliable, and low CO2 brand.” Faster cars would help expand Hyundai’s reputation for more than just budget cars.
Rushforth told Autocar that any “Hyundai GTI” would have to involve both the i40 sedan and the smaller i30 hatchback. In addition to more power, such cars would reportedly have improved handling and braking, making them all-round performance upgrades.
Hyundai will reportedly focus its sporty efforts on expanding the reach of turbocharged engines and dual-clutch transmissions. The new Veloster Turbo already packs a 201-hp punch from a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four engine, and is available with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The Sonata 2.0T sedan features a 2.0-liter turbo-four 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque.
Although Rushforth didn’t confirm it, the implication is that the Veloster Turbo powertrain could be used in other sporty Hyundais. If it were used in the i30 — and by extension, the U.S.-market Elantra GT — Hyundai would have a hot hatchback that could pose a legitimate threat to the Volkswagen GTI.
“The Veloster is the first step for our dual-clutch technology,” he told Autocar. “It’s a starting point for us and we’ll look at how we can adapt it across the range.”
What do you think: does Hyundai need to build a performance version of the Elantra GT hatchback when the Veloster Turbo has already launched? If so, would the Elantra GT be a serious competitor to the VW GTI? Have your say in the comments section below.