Hyundai Coupe (2007)

Published: 02 August 2007

Ooh, that looks quite good!

Snapped hot-weather testing in the Californian desert, this is Hyundai’s new Coupe, and yes it does look good. When the current Coupe was launched back in 2003 it was lauded for its Ferrari 456-esque looks, and the Mk1 car of 1996 was rather tasty as well. While successive facelifts have arguably spoiled the looks of Hyundai's sportscar, even the disguise on this prototype can’t hide the fact it should be a bit of a looker.

What should I look out for?

The big departure is that the Coupe is expected to switch from front to rear-wheel drive. It will share its platform with the forthcoming all-new Genesis exec, though it won’t have that car’s V8. The switch should also bring a much-needed leap in quality. The current car isn’t bad but in line with the Genesis the new Coupe should be near the top of its class, Hyundai officials claim.

Who’s actually in the Coupe’s class?

Ah, yes. Well currently the Coupe pretty much has the market to itself since Peugeot has sent its 407 Coupe towards the £30k mark. Currently a 1.6-litre Hyundai Coupe costs £15,772, while even the 2.7-litre V6 nips in below the £20k barrier at £19,597. Moving the car to rear-wheel drive will no doubt push the price up, so top-end models could even encroach on Mazda RX-8 territory. However, such a switch would also make room for a forthcoming cheaper Kia coupe, codenamed Project Snowdrop, which will be unveiled at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The new Coupe is expected to draw inspiration from 2004's HCD-8 concept (main picture) and the Veloster concept (inset) which was unveiled ealier this year at the Seoul Motor Show.

Does this mean Hyundai is trying to punch above its weight?

A few years ago CAR Online would have said yes, but Hyundai-Kia have ambitious plans that are steadily coming to fruition. Back in 1999, it sold less than two million cars a year, but in 2006 that figure was only a whisker under four million. Five million sales in 2010 are a dead cert. What's fuelling such growth? Cheap R&D and labour costs, low manufacturing bills and the chance to forge a new image without historical hang-ups. If the Kia Cee’d, KND-4 concept, the Hyundai i30 and forthcoming Veracruz are anything to go by, then you wouldn’t bet against them succeeding.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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