Hyundai. Muscle car. Not words I'd expected in the same sentence...
Here in Europe at least, we've long associated Hyundais with cheap 'n' cheerful transport for the masses. But Hyundai and Kia are hellbent on changing their image around the world, and that's why the next-generation Coupe - caught here on test in America - is growing up. And when we say growing up, we mean getting V8 power. The next-gen model is quite a different beast from today's compact, slick-looking, affordable two-door. How about 300bhp and 3.6 litres? Seriously.
Three hundred brake in a Hyundai?!
Oh yes. It's rear-drive, too, sharing the platform from the upcoming Genesis saloon, as we reported in our last Hyundai Coupe scoop. The executive model gets the 300bhp 3.6-litre V8, so it will be available in the two-door as well. The UK marketeers are currently 'working on the business plan', but sources close to the discussions made clear they're itching to bring the V8 bruiser to the UK. 'Imagine the image change it would signal,' he said. Clearly, the numbers would be very low-volume, and the V8 Coupe would be priced to compete with cars like the Nissan 350Z at just under £30,000.
What about for people who can't afford V8 fuel bills?
Hyundai will offer a 2.0-litre turbo as well, which would be the big seller here naturally. The decision on whether to import the rear-drive Coupe will be taken this autumn; if it gets the go-ahead, expect a European launch at the 2008 London Motor Show. We could see the US market Hyundai Coupe trailed as a concept car at the Los Angeles show in November, with the production version expected at Detroit 2008.