HYUNDAI will release a warmed-up version of its recently-launched AD-series Elantra small car in September, with the aim of slipping below the $30,000 barrier.
Based on the Avante Sport (pictured here) that has just been unveiled in the South Korean home market, the new Elantra SR will score a modified version of the 1.6-litre T-GDI four-cylinder turbo as found in the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo, driving the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT dual-clutch transmission.
However, one huge difference over the ageing oddball coupe is the ditching of the torsion beam rear end for an independent set-up, giving us a taste of what Hyundai’s long-awaited, next-generation, PD-series Hyundai i30 N hot hatch might handle and ride like.
As with most of the company’s models, the Elantra SR’s all-new small-car platform has been subjected to an Australianisation program that will include recalibrated steering and suspension tuning, with results that PR general manager, Bill Thomas, reckons will give the sporty newcomer an edge over direct rivals like the new Honda Civic RS and Ford Focus Sport.
"We've had cars here for a couple of months for suspension tuning and we're happy with the results,” he told Wheels. “The independent rear suspension gave the HMCA suspension team a bit more scope than a torsion beam and they're confident they've nailed the compromise between engaging handling and comfortable ride."
Your neighbours will be able to spot the sportier Hyundai Elantra by its redesigned front and rear bumpers, twin exhaust pipes, and restyled alloys, while other SR mods include paddle shifts for the newly leather-clad sports steering wheel, cow-hide covered upholstery, and more heavily bolstered two-tone front seats.
Final variant features have yet to be divulged, but the availability of driver-assist tech like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring is likely.
'It's too early to talk in detail about specifications and pricing,” Thomas said.
Meanwhile, a revised version of the existing GD-series i30 SR is also in the pipeline for a quarter three launch in Australia, gaining some of the interior upgrades found in the Elantra SR.