2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport aims to be the Korean Jetta GLI

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We’ve had a good idea of what the upcoming Elantra Sport would be like thanks to Hyundai’s reveal of the Avante Sport, the quicker version of the Elantra’s Korean-market twin. Now we know just how similar the two are: essentially identical.

The Elantra Sport features a turbocharged 1.6-liter four cylinder engine that anyone familiar with the Veloster Turbo will recognize. Oddly though, at 200 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, the engine is rated 1 horsepower and 5 lb-ft of torque less than either the turbo Veloster or Avante. The front-wheel drive Elantra Sport can also be ordered with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

We’re happy to report the Elantra Sport and its Avante twin will share a new multi-link rear suspension. This replaces the less sophisticated torsion bar suspension and will hopefully contribute to more agile handling. Hyundai did not announce whether the Avante Sport’s optional “extreme package” anti-roll bars, springs and shocks would be available in the States. We certainly hope they will at least be an option.

The Avante Sport and Elantra Sport will also share exterior and interior updates. These updates give the fastest Elantra a subtle, classy look. Larger intake vents, a rear diffuser panel, larger wheels and slightly extended ground effects all say sporty without shouting it. The theme continues inside with red stitching on the flat-bottom steering wheel and more aggressive “sport” seats.

The Elantra Sport also finds itself in an odd position. Many of the performance cars in its size segment have moved up in power. There are some small sedans that come close to the Elantra Sport’s 200 ponies such as the turbocharged Honda Civic, 2.5-liter Mazda3 and the lame-duck 2.4-liter Dodge Dart. But when it comes to enthusiast-oriented small sedans with at least 200 horses, there’s only one true option: the Volkswagen Jetta GLI. In fact, the 210-horsepower GLI matches the Elantra Sport quite nicely, as it also features subtle styling and just enough sportiness to feel special. Hyundai has yet to announce pricing, but if it undercuts the German veteran by a significant margin, it could become a bargain choice for the driver who wants some, but not too much, fun.

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