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Hyundai Veloster coupé (2011) spy shots

Published: 04 May 2010

The VW Scirocco might have drawn criticisms from CAR readers ('it's not a coupé, it's a squashed three-door Golf' you nodded in unison), but it seems to have spawned an imitator: the new 2011 Hyundai Veloster, caught in CAR's new spy photos.

It's a wedge-shaped mix of shooting brake and coupé and is one of a pair of models planned to replace the ageing Hyundai Coupé. We first saw the Veloster as a concept car at the 2007 Seoul motor show and it's taken four years for it to be realised in production form.

One of the most interesting design flourishes of the Veloster will be its asymmetric doors. There are two conventionally hinged passenger doors on one side, a single door on the other; unlike Mini's Clubman, Hyundai will engineer the doors for left- and right-hand drive – so the solo rear entry point will swap sides depending on market. Your toddler stands a much better chance of not being roadkill.

What's under the bonnet of the 2011 Hyundai Veloster?

Expect hardware poached from the next-gen front-wheel drive i30 hatchback family, which means a 170bhp DI 1.6 petrol turbo as the most likely range topper at first. The days of V6 petrol power are gone in this CO2 crunched zeitgeist.

It's a sign that the compact coupé market is undergoing something of a resurgence. Ford might have dropped the Capri and Puma from its range (for now), but other makers are cashing in on the trend for small sports cars.

It's hardly going to win plaudits as a mini Ferrari, is it?

That's a moot point. Insiders who've seen the car claim it will split opinion, with radical looks lurking under the camouflage cladding of our spy shots. When the Coupé, or Tiburon as it's badged in many markets overseas, was first launched in 1996 it was feted as a budget Ferrari. But the glitzy looks were dulled down for the 2002 successor which is still on sale today and you'll have to make your own mind up on the new Veloster when it's unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show.

The 'Veloster' name of the concept car has not yet been confirmed for production, but is one of the working titles. The coupé will go on sale in spring 2011, costing around £15,000 – similar dosh as the outgoing Coupé.

Interestingly, the Coupé was pulled from European sales last year as it failed some obscure official test for emisisons from dashboard plastics. Hyundai had to sell its EU allocation by 31 December 2009 and UK dealers say they are desperate for a replacement, as the sports car provided some showroom sex appeal alongside the sensible hatchbacks and crossovers.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet