With two doors on one side and one on the other, the Hyundai Veloster always turned heads, and now its new high performance turbocharged version will put them in a spin thanks to the much needed power boost, up from 138bhp to 183bhp.
The turbocharged version of the Veloster 1+2 door coupe will be available in showrooms today (24 September) from £21,995. It is the first model to feature Hyundai's 1.6-litre T-GDI direct injection petrol engine with a high-compression, twin-scroll turbocharger. The original non-turbocharged 138bhp GDI petrol models are priced from £18,000.
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To best suit European driving tastes and enhance driver enjoyment, power output has been boosted and low end torque increased so it develops 183bhp and 195lb ft of torque (up from 123lb ft) and is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission with wider gear ratios than the normally aspirated version.
This gives 133mph and acceleration from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds with maximum torque between 1,500rpm and 4,500rpm and sports specification includes firmer dampers. The Veloster Turbo SE emits 157g/km CO2 and is claimed to give up to 40.9mpg on the combined cycle.
The front bumper, radiator grille and front fog lights are new to the Turbo and there's a longer and wider rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light included in the visual changes. There is also a red "Turbo" nameplate on the bottom right of the bootlid with a body kit along the sides as well as unique new 18-inch alloy wheels with chrome inserts.
Three colour options are available for the Turbo SE, namely White Crystal (Solid), Phantom Black (Pearl) and another Hyundai-first a Matt Grey finish. The Pearl and Matt Grey paints cost £445 and £525 respectively. A tilt and slide panoramic sunroof is available for £950.
Inside, the Veloster Turbo SE has re-designed leather seats with grey panels, with the "Turbo" title embossed on the driver's and passenger's seats and the driver's seat is electrically adjustable with lumbar support.
Hyundai's 7-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system, incorporating media centre and reverse parking camera with parking guidance, comes as standard. With navigation, buyers also receive an upgraded eight-speaker sound system including amplifier and subwoofer.
There is the familiar transferable 5 Year Triple Care assurance package.
Veloster product manager for Hyundai Motor UK, Paul Strong, said the unique 1+2 designed car was crying out for a power uplift to closer match its sporting coupe looks, and this was now available.
He said, "We wanted to give buyers a more powerful Veloster if they wanted it and it has always been in the plans to have this car in the UK but we wanted to launch earlier this year with the model which would have the wider appeal."
The Veloster Turbo generates nearly 33 per cent more power and much more torque for mid-range overtaking but it also slips in beneath the significant 160gkm emissions mark.
It will be joined next year by a more basic Veloster Turbo at just under £20,000.
"We anticipate selling about 1,100 Veloster coupes this year," added Mr. Strong, "Our estimates are that between 10 and 20 per cent could be the new Turbo version and it could have particular appeal to the user-chooser business buyer."
Closest rivals to it must be the VW Scirocco 1.4TSI and Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 VVT Turbo.
A very brief run in the latest Veloster Turbo prior to its UK sales launch this week quickly confirmed this is a car you could enjoy and it now has a much needed boost in performance to go with its original sporting design.
The driving position is not only commanding but direct and the power feeds in smoothly, but quickly, with some lightness at the back end becoming apparent.
Driving with some restraint it grips well and responds faithfully to throttle, steering and brakes.
I liked the slickness of the gearbox and the wider ratios mean you are not having to make rapid changes up the box during acceleration, but the test car had a particularly long clutch travel with was annoying.
Ride quality has been tuned to be firmer, not ideal for our poor UK road surfaces, and it bumped over some pieces of tarmac. It always let you know how it was coping through the amount of road and suspension noise produced under the Veloster Turbo's wheels.
Without properly trying it brim to brim it would be impossible to accurately gauge fuel consumption but I estimated it to be about 37mpg, which means it would be a good long range tourer if you did not need a lot of interior room or luggage space. No doubt a steady run along motorways and main roads would keep down engine and road noise as well.
I think the Veloster Turbo could become one of those much sought after future niche classics which will bring a timeless smile to a driver's face.
Hyundai Veloster 1.6 Turbo SE Coupe
1.6-litre, four cylinder, 16V, turbocharged, direct injection GDI petrol, 186PS (183bhp), 265Nm (195lb ft) of torque from 1,500rpm, six-speed manual.
Max 133mph, 0-62mph 8.4sec, 40.9mpg, (37mpg estimated approx), CO2 157gkm, VED road tax £170, BIK company car tax 22%.
5yrs/ unlimited mileage.
Performance, driving position and controls, economy, reasonable boot space.
Rear seat legroom, rear visibility, engine and road noise, long travel clutch.