A sportier, two-door runningmate to the Elantra Sedan, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe made its world debut in Chicago. Created at Hyundai's North American Design Center in Irvine, California, the new Coupe is spun from the current Elantra Sedan platform and shares virtually all key critical dimensions, inside and out with its four-door sibling. Despite an obvious orientation towards more youthful buyers, the Elantra Coupe maintains the automaker's signature emphasis on creating a high value package that delivers outstanding fuel economy.

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Arguably the most aggressive interpretation to date of Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language, the new Elantra Coupe matches bold contours with sweeping character lines and dramatically raked front and rear pillars to create a riveting visual statement. The Coupe's smooth-flowing bodywork and optimized aero detailing result in an impressive 0.28 coefficient of drag. Inside, the cabin trimout shares all of the basics with the Elantra Sedan, although it does boast some unique trim elements and features more deeply bolstered front bucket seats that provide better lateral support during spirited driving. While rear legroom and shoulder room are marginally smaller than the four-door Elantra, headroom is unchanged and the Coupe's aft quarters look to be fully capable of comfortably carrying two average-sized adults or three kids.

The Elantra Coupe's expansive roster of standards is highlighted by a full array of power assists, a multifunction steering wheel on a tilt/telescoping column, trip computer, keyless remote entry, cruise control, six-speaker/172-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, USB/AUX/iPod inputs, heated front seats and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench. Safety kit includes Vehicle Stability Management plue Electronic Stability/Traction control, antilock four-wheel disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution and front/side/side-curtain airbags.

Stepping up from GS to the top-line SE Coupe brings leather instead of cloth upholstery, alloy sport pedals and dual-zone auto climate control in place of manual air conditioning. It also allows buyers to order an immobilizer, proximity key entry with pushbutton start/stop, 360-watt premium audio system with navigation and the Limited Technology Package that bundles all of the above with automatic headlamps and a rearview camera.

Sole engine in the new Elantra Coupe is the Hyundai's 1.8-liter "Nu" four-cylinder with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT). Also shared with the Elantra sedan, it carries over unchanged and develops 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque in Federal form -- or 145/130 in California-spec Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) trim. When fitted with the standard six-speed manual transmission, the Coupe is projected to get 29/40 mpg city/highway EPA marks. Opt for the six-speed autoshifter that features Shiftronic manual control and ActiveECO circuitry and those figures are expected to slip back to 28/39 mpg.

Although the Coupe's suspension design is common with the Elantra Sedan, Hyundai engineers retuned it to give the two-door a unique personality. Both GS and SE feature higher spring rates and a stouter torsion beam rear axle as well as quicker ratios on their electrically boosted power steering systems. In addition to its plus-one wheel/tire package, the SE also comes with its own dedicated chassis spec to help take full advantage of its stickier low-profile rubber.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe goes on sale this spring. Pricing will be released closer to the actual on-sale date.


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