"Essentially" yes, but the devil is often in the details and, aside from the better looking wheels, I was hoping the tweaks they made to the drivetrain and suspension would make it a more refined car than the GTS. I guess we won't know until someone in journalism land snags wone for a road test. Certainly my 15 minute spin around the block didn't tell me much. As for settling for a leftover GTS, as I said in my OP, there are only half a dozen left withing 250 miles of my home and they are all in "non-colors" (white, silver, black grey), which just doesn't cut it. Ironically, it looks like I'm going to end up with a Machine Grey Mazda 3, partly because its the only color (non-color!) that to my eye looks correct with the dark silver wheels.
What fockind details???? Stupid North Americans removed 2 safety features and one convenience from GT Sport Ultimate and called it N focking BS Line.
I saved $$$ all year, prized GT Sport Ultimate (read: fully loaded, most expensive Elantra GT) everywhere (even though everybody was looking at me like I am 'slow'? Elantra? Blah..) and what happened??
Instead of getting GT with little make up called N Line I got slap in the face from NA Hyundai. Instead of giving us MORE, they REMOVED 3 things. Well, Hyundai got middle finger from me and I will be most likely back to Honda; need more money though.
If OP can find GT fully loaded 2018 model, get it and do not ask for price. That is perfect little car fully loaded with tech and other stuff. I should buy it last year but I do not like to pay to be guinea pig for car manufacturers so never buy first year models...
And this noting has to do with Hyundai itself; they make great cars (look for i30) but North Americans confirm they are the most dumbest people on the planet.