Future Tuner: 2009 Hyundai Tiburon

Aaron Williams
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There has been a lot of talk from the Hyundai camp lately about the new Genesis sedan. From around the globe we can hear the executives in Korea singing its praises: "It will move us up market! It has a 380-horsepower V-8! It's got rear-wheel drive!" Those things are all well and good, but what we're excited about more than the big sedan is the soon-to-follow little brother coupe.

Currently the details are sparse, but that won't stop us from dubbing the new Tiburon the Next Big Thing for tuners everywhere. This car is such a big step over the old Tib that Hyundai is considering dropping the name to distinguish it. We've heard that both Tuscani - as the Tiburon is known throughout the rest of the world - and Genesis Coupe are being considered.

Why is the new Tiburon such a big deal? Like the best tuner cars, it has rear-wheel drive, a powerful engine, and (most importantly) a low price. Starting in the low twenty thousands, the coupe will come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with horsepower in the low two hundreds. There will also be a 300-horsepower V-6 available, also mated to a six-speed manual transmission. We're predicting that the turbo-four will be the way to go.

We have a feeling that it won't take long before tuners start working on the internals and chipping the four-cylinder for big power gains. This will be Hyundai's first turbocharged engine since the Scoupe in 1995, and although that car has gone the way of the dodo, the Scoupe still has a devout following today. A quick online search showed that many owners have made modifications to increase power, and we expect the same behavior in the new Tiburon. Except loads of horsepower won't turn the Tiburon into the burnout machine that the Scope was. Its rear-drive layout will turn it into a big Korean drift machine.

All Hyundai has to do is make this car look hot, and so far, we like what we see. Sure, these are only spy photos, but they reveal quite a lot about the final product. We like the downward slanting slope over the rear wheels and the aggressive front end. Sized similarly to a Nissan 350Z, the coupe will have a usable rear seat.

The new Tiburon will go into production in late 2008 and be in showrooms early the next year. The Tiburon is the only rear-drive turbocharged sports coupe in its segment - so tuners all over the country need to save a spot in their garage for one.

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