BMW teams up with Italian styling gurus at Pininfarina for slick new coupe
Hyundai Veloster Turbo SE review (2012 onwards)
What: Hyundai Veloster Turbo SE
Where: Farnborough, UK
Date: September 2012
Available: September 2012
Key rivals: Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 Turbo, Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI, Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport, Mazda MX-5 2.0i Sport Tech Roadster Coupe
Hyundai's Veloster coupe gets a chunk more oomph to match the looks, courtesy of a bolt-on turbo.
We like: Extra power and torque, linear power delivery, slick powertrain
We don't like: Ride too firm, weak brakes
The Veloster always looked the part, but it was a bit of a fast coupe imposter when it came to what lurked under the bonnet - a 138hp naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-pot that needed revving to make the car move meant performance didn't match the promise of the aesthetics.
Enter the Veloster Turbo - same 1.6-litre engine, only this time Hyundai has added a turbo into the mix to give 186hp. That makes a difference. And it eclipses all its main rivals in the power and torque stakes, including the entry-level Audi TT.
The Veloster's defining feature - its 1+2 door configuration - remains though. It's a clever idea: one door on the driver's side giving a sleek coupe-like profile and two doors on the passenger's side giving a sporty hatchback look. "One car with two sides," according to Hyundai.
Maybe that should be three sides now though, as the Turbo now has an improved sporting side...
The key to the car's new found urgency is its torque output - 195lb ft of it available from as little as 1,500rpm right the way through to 4,500rpm. It doesn't run out of puff beyond here however, with a decent slug of power it'll rev out sweetly and smoothly to its red line.
Which makes for deceptively swift progress. Even though the Turbo's turbo doesn't get variable vane geometry, it works over a broad range meaning little lag. The engine doesn't deliver its shove in the fizz-bang way a forced induction motor might have even five years ago. Instead it's totally linear - the wonders of modern technology.
The Veloster Turbo gets wider spread gear ratios compared to the standard car to "cope with the extra torque", according to Hyundai. The six-speed manual transmission is slick and works well. The shift action is positive and has a decent weight to, but it never feels obstructive. There'll be no dual-clutch gearbox option though.
A third more power and 59% more torque than the naturally aspirated Veloster means its 0-62mph time stands at 8.4 seconds - a 1.3-second improvement - while top speed is up to 133mph.
It's a shame the brakes don't have the continued power to match this newfound performance, however.
After a very short spirited run along a bumpy B-road stretch, with some firm but not abusive braking, the calipers were cooked and the pedal felt wooden and long - even with the Turbo's 20mm enlarged front discs.
Ride and handling
It's firm, the Veloster Turbo - firmer than the standard car, which we criticised for being possibly overly stiff for the UK. In fact, the Turbo gets firmer suspension dampers again as part of a chassis tuning pack bespoke to the UK model.
At eight tenths and on smoother roads it works well and feels taught and composed, but stray off the beaten track and the Veloster shows its displeasure for rippled and rucked surfaces.
In these situations, when pushed harder it loses its composure and becomes a bit crashy. Grip levels remain good all the while, however - a particular strong point of the new car.
It's not the sportiest drive, but it does make a good fist of getting you involved. The steering feels weighty at low speed - like you have to physically steer the car to tell it where to go rather than just using minute movements of the fingers.
It's fairly direct too, and stays that way at speed. We criticised the standard car for losing its weight and feedback levels around the straight-ahead when travelling faster - the Turbo isn't beset by this problem. Information isn't telegraphed in magnified detail, but there's enough relayed to the helm to get a good feel for what the front end is doing.
There are a few bits and pieces that have been redesigned over the standard car inside the Turbo's cabin - namely leather seats with a few flashes of colour. They come standard on the Turbo, incidentally, as does Bluetooth, a seven-inch sat nav display, cruise control and a host of other technical gadgets.
It's interesting to look at in here too, and works with the odd three-door theme. Build quality is good and the ergonomics and switchgear feel very Germanic and solid.
Thankfully, Hyundai has done the 1+2 door thing properly, with the extra rear door exiting onto the pavement, rather than into traffic. It's good and doesn't make that much difference in terms of access to the rear of the cabin over a conventional four- or five-door either.
Legroom in the back is adequate by coupe standards, although headspace is a bit on the cramped side.
The car we sampled was also fitted with the £950 optional panoramic sunroof - it bathes the cabin in natural light and makes what could be a claustrophobic interior feel light, open and airy.
Economy and safety
Hyundai claims the Veloster Turbo will return 40.9mpg on the combined cycle and emit 157g/km CO2 at the same time.
Compare that to the standard car's 47.9mpg and 137g/km CO2 offering in efficiency-focused Blue Drive trim (43.5mpg with 148g/km CO2 in normal guise) and the economy penalty for the extra power doesn't seem too bad.
As for safety, with no significant structural changes the Turbo retains the standard car's full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating.
The MSN Cars verdict
The Veloster Turbo has addressed a number of criticisms we levelled at the standard car - it's now a good deal faster and feels sportier as a result. The steering is better and there's plenty of grip, even if the chassis' poise does go AWOL on occasion.
It's still extremely well equipped for the £21,995 asking price, practical, well built, interesting to look at and boasts a unique style all of its own - an important point in every coupe's quest for attention.
Although there are no plans for a diesel, there is a budget Veloster Turbo on its way too, set to kick-off at £19,995. It's the austerity measures coupe.
Need to know
Engines, petrol: 1.6 turbocharged four-cylinder
Engines, diesel: N/A
Torque: 195lb ft
0-62: 8.4 secs
Top speed: 133mph
MPG: 40.9 combined
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