While it might not look much different than its naturally-aspirated sibling that arrived at dealers earlier this year, the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T that debuted in New York packs a serious one-two performance punch that pairs big power with exceptional economy. Available on Sonata SE and Limited trim levels, the new 2.0T upgrade teams Hyundai's Theta II 2.0-liter four-cylinder direct-injected gasoline engine (GDI) with a single, twin-scroll turbocharger. That combo nets 274 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque while earning projected EPA marks of 22 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. If that's not enough, it does it while drinking regular unleaded gasoline. By comparison, the naturally-aspirated GDI 2.4-liter engine in the standard Sonata makes 198 horses, 184 lb.-ft. of torque and merits 22-24/35 mpg numbers.
Part of the Hyundai Blue Drive Initiative that will see the Korean automaker launch seven new vehicles in the next 24 months that use either GDI or turbo/GDI engines, the new 2.0T boasts an amazing basic stat sheet. In addition to making a stellar 137 horses per liter, its 12.2 pounds-per-pony ratio is even better than a Camaro V6. The use of a high-efficiency twin-scroll turbocharger also deserves kudos. Similar in design to the T-charger design used by BMW, it separates inlet air pulses in a way that maximizes cylinder filling by reducing interference patterns, which adds up to more relative power and permits leaner burns for better economy. As a final touch, the stainless steel exhaust manifold and the turbo housing are cast as a single piece using a Hyundai-patented process that trims weight and improves durability. The wastegate on the 2.0T also uses a more efficient electric controller in place of the normal mechanical unit.
Sole transmission for the new Sonata 2.0T is Hyundai's six-speed Shiftronic automatic. On the 2.0T Limited, it will feature steering wheel-mounted paddles for quick, finger-friendly gear changes. Going for the top-line Sonata trim also will bring a panoramic sunroof, 18-inch hyper silver alloy wheels and a dual exhaust system. No official word yet on pricing for either Sonata 2.0T variant, but sales are slated to start later this year.