Long before Hyundai crowned today’s Veloster N hot hatchback as its sportiest offering in the U.S., the South Korean brand had flexed its dynamic competence muscle with the two-door Tiburon coupe and later rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe. The former entered the United States for the 1997 model year as a handsome but generally forgettable front-wheel-drive model. However, the latter vehicle, which arrived for 2010, truly helped Hyundai establish itself among enthusiasts. It faded from the market just before the Genesis sedan it was based on morphed into the standalone Genesis luxury brand—but could it come back? We asked Scott Margason, Hyundai’s director of product planning, for his thoughts
Somewhat surprisingly, Margason told us that if he had his way, Hyundai would once again offer a vehicle like the Genesis coupe. And why not? With its rear-drive underpinnings, handsome styling, and available 306-horsepower V-6 engine, the Genesis Coupe was an impressive and capable performance car. The Hyundai even took top honors in a MotorTrend comparison test against six-cylinder variants of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang.
Margason, as well as Miles Johnson of Hyundai Motor America’s public relations department, shared some insights into the development of the Genesis Coupe and its front-drive forebear, the Tiburon, in a recent sit-down with MotorTrend. For instance, the two reveal that Hyundai briefly considered pinning the Tiburon name to the rear-wheel-drive sports coupe that eventually became the Genesis Coupe. Give the above video a watch to learn more behind-the-scenes details about the two Hyundai coupes.
Unfortunately, there’s no indication Hyundai plans to revive the two-door sports coupe, although the brand is exploring a mid-engined, rear-drive sports car to serve as a halo vehicle for its performance-oriented N sub-brand. There have been rumors that Genesis, the luxury sub-brand spun off from the original Hyundai Genesis sedan and Genesis Coupe models, might churn out a two-door coupe; however, such a model would surely be less pony car and more personal luxury coupe, à la the brand’s Vision G concept.