It wasnâ€™t a secret that Hyundai was set to launch its next Veloster in 2018. It also was fairly certain that there would be a turbo model available.
Yet Hyundai still managed to stuff a surprise up its sleeve â€“ the high-performance N version will come to America.
Hyundai promises â€œup toâ€� 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged four-banger, and the sole transmission is a six-speed manual.
N models are visually distinguished from other Velosters by a large rear spoiler, unique front fascia and grille, and functional air ducts for cooling the front brakes.
The dual exhaust and rear fascia (with diffuser) are also different. The N has unique side-sill rockers and is available with 18- or 19-inch wheels.
Hyundai gives N owners five drive modes to choose from, and the N has a limited-slip differential.
In non-N news, the other two available engines are a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (147 horsepower/195 lb-ft of torque) and a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. The standard four-pot mates to either a six-speed manual or automatic, while the turbo pairs with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Both models are available with three drive modes.
All Velosters, including N models, have torque-vectoring control. Of course, the Veloster remains a three-door.
The â€œregularâ€� Velosterâ€™s exterior design is toned down compared to the previous car, but itâ€™s not too radical of a departure â€“ the car is still instantly recognizable as a Veloster. The Nâ€™s exterior add-ons make it look better than the base car â€“ the Veloster at least looks like a serious performance hatchback.
Judged based on specs and appearance alone, the new Veloster looks like itâ€™s finally a serious entry in the sporty hatch category. The first-generation Veloster was supposed to be that car, but it ended up falling short.
Hyundai can now credibly claim it has a Veloster that may serve as an alternative to the GTI, thanks to the N model. However, itâ€™s easy to make claims on paper.
If Hyundai gets the driving experience right, the car may finally fulfill its initial promise.
[Images Â© 2018 Matt Posky/TTAC]