If you’re in the market for a premium hot hatch (or sedan), the Audi S3 is a great choice. It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s relatively practical. Even the S3 sedan in America is a great everyday sports car. However, there just might be a new competitor to the hot hatch segment that should worry Audi and it’s one that’s a bit unusual — the Hyundai Veloster N.
On paper, the Audi S3 and Hyundai Veloster N aren’t exactly competitors. The S3 uses a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder to make 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It can hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, is all-wheel drive and uses a dual-clutch gearbox. In America, it’s only available as a sedan, also. While the Hyundai is a three-door hatchback that uses a 2.0 liter turbo-four with 250 hp (275 hp if you get the Performance Package), is front-wheel drive and only sports a six-speed manual.
On top of that, the Hyundai Veloster N is a lot less premium and/or luxurious than the Audi S3 and their prices reflect that. The Audi S3 starts at $43,000 and the Hyundai at $28,555, which is a massive difference. So you’d be forgiven in thinking that the Veloster N has no chance at competing with the S3. And, it likely won’t, if I’m being honest.
However… if enthusiasts can put aside brand prestige and a bit of luxury, they might find that the Hyundai Veloster N is the real deal and a sports car that will provide more thrills than the S3 can. In fact, the Veloster N is likely the far superior driver’s car, despite that sounding a bit crazy. Personally, I haven’t driven it (working on that, actually), but a great many journalists have and none of them have had anything but stellar things to say about it. Hell, the little Hyundai won Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year award, despite going up against the new Porsche 911, a McLaren and even the new C8 Corvette.
I like the Audi S3, I really do. I think it’s a good car that blends comfort, style and speed into a relatively affordable package. However, I value driving above all else, with practicality as a close second, and I’m not picky when it comes to brand. So if I were in the market for something fun, sporty and practical enough for the day-to-day, the Hyundai Veloster N would be my choice over the much more expensive Audi S3. And I don’t think I’m alone among enthusiasts.
I know what will happen if I bring this up to Audi execs. They’d brush the little Hyundai off and mock me for suggesting that it can genuinely steal sales away from the S3. But, I’m calling it now, once word gets out that the new Veloster N is great, young enthusiasts are going to flock to it, at the expense of pricier, more premium cars. So while Audi isn’t worried about the Hyundai Veloster N, it should be.