Hyundai Tiburon - Added by on 14-Feb-2020

Hyundai Tiburon
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Hyundai Tiburon - ID: 8088
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More Information on the Hyundai Tiburon

The Hyundai Tiburon (Korean: ?? ???), known as the Hyundai Coupe (?? ??) or Hyundai Tuscani (????) in some markets, was a compact sports coupe that was produced by the South Korean manufacturer Hyundai from 1996 to 2008.

The name "Tiburon", a slight variation of "tiburón", the Spanish word for "shark", is the name given to the North American, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Austrian production of the vehicle. It was known as the Hyundai Coupe in some European and Indonesian markets. It had been branded as the Tuscani (????) and Turbulence (????) in the home South Korean market.

The model had been released in two generations (RD and GK) over its lifespan and in that time these generations have been subject to periodic facelifts. These facelifts have attempted to keep the car up to date with various safety improvements and a mixture of changes to exterior and interior styling. The RD Tiburon was in production for 5 years from 1996 to 2001. The GK Tiburon was introduced in 2002 (as a 2003 model) and ended production in 2008. The Hyundai Veloster later replaced the Tuscani.

In second generation models of the Hyundai Tiburon, a top level trim package was released in some markets, named Tuscani (which has caused some confusion in the global community as this was also what the Hyundai Tiburon was named in South Korea). It was a complete, all upgrades package with every option included. It was the elite version of the car originally only offered in yellow. Lesser versions had colour options and were given the GT designation. Later years introduced optional coloring. In the UK market, the V6 was only available in full upgrade specification and did not hold the name Tuscani.

First generation (1996–2000)

RD (1996–1999)

Tiburon first began production in late 1996. It was available in a few foreign markets with engine choices of either 1.6L or 1.8L. In the United States, the Tiburon was first offered in 1997 with base models using the Elantra's 1.8L 130 hp (97 kW) engine while the upscale FX received a 2.0L four-cylinder engine. The 2.0L was rated at 140 hp (104 kW) at the crankshaft (the car's manual specifies 102 kW (137 hp) at the flywheel). Base weight was around 2,550 lb (1,150 kg), giving the RD Tiburon a higher power-to-weight ratio than the newer GK 2.0L. The 2.0L produces a 0–60 mph time of ~8.3, with a 1/4 mile time of ~16 seconds. In 1998 the Tiburon lost its weaker 1.8L engine, giving both models the 2.0L. All versions of the Tiburon manufactured from 1996 to 2002 are known as "RD" Tiburons.

Its appearance was a revival of "coke bottle styling", popular during the 1960s and 1970s. There were various options, with or without ABS, 2 airbags, leather, and sunroof. Auto motor und sport magazine, revealed in 1996, that Porsche contributed for the suspension system of the car. They used hi-pressure nitrogen shock absorbers. Additionally, at the front they used base wishbones and at the rear axle, double transverse bars with MacPherson struts. The magazine described the result as "the best combination of comfort/grip and sport feeling, at this vehicle's class".

RD Special Editions (UK) – F2 and F2 Evolution

Various special editions were also produced, focusing primarily on cosmetic modifications and improvements. In the UK, Hyundai's entrance into the Formula 2 World Rally Championship saw the release of the "F2" and "F2 Evolution" models in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

The "F2" (non Evolution) was released in July 1998. Only available in the UK, the "F2" model sold approximately 1100 units in total during 1998 and 1999, (making the "F2" a slightly rarer model than the "F2 Evolution" which followed). An enhanced version of the UK-spec 2.0 SE, the "F2" was available in a choice of three colours; Black (solid), Bright Silver (metallic), or Racing Blue (mica). (This latter colour, a vivid bright blue, was unique to the "F2"; no other Hyundai models were ever made available in Racing Blue (mica)). The "F2" modifications included 16" diameter x 7.5J multi-spoke DTM-style alloy wheels. These wheels were fitted with carbon-fibre effect centre-caps incorporating the "F2" logo within. According to Hyundai's "Coupe F2 Tyre Supplement Handbook", (supplied with each new Coupe F2), these wheels were described as "Motorsport-style alloy wheels". The wheels were actually Team Dynamics DTM, which were manufactured in England by Rimstock Plc. These wheels were high-quality for an OEM alloy wheel, weighing only 17.6 lbs (8.0 kg) per corner and closely emulating the style of the TSW Hockenheim R.

Tyres were Pirelli 225/40/16 P7000 directional, their 225 width and 40 profile made these the most aggressive standard-fit tyre supplied with any RD (or RD2) Hyundai Coupe. The "F2" also featured a deeper and more aggressive front spoiler, incorporating an oval chrome mesh grille insert. There was also "F2" badging on the front wings and rear valance, an uprated CD/tuner stereo by Sony (CDX C5000R with RDS), "Coupe F2" monogrammed aluminium kick plates, a unique leather-and-aluminium gearstick and a discreet "Coupe F2" badge on the ashtray fascia. The front carpet mats were inlaid with rectangular silver-coloured "Coupe F2" badges. According to the Hyundai Coupe F2 brochure, total on-the-road price was £17,999 (as of July 1998).

Two further items were available free to the first five-hundred Hyundai Coupe F2 buyers. Firstly, there was a large aluminium-bound "F2" art book, (including various artistic photographs and designer images of the Coupe F2). These books were signed inside by rally driver Kenneth Eriksson, (one of Hyundai's drivers in the F2 World Rally Championship at the time). Secondly, there was an aluminium key-fob, fitted with an LED light and supplied in a small silver-coloured box labelled "Lexon Design Concept". Both of these items were packaged together in a large silver cardboard box with "F2" printed onto the lid. These items were supplied by the dealer upon collection of the new car. During 1998, there was prominent press and billboard advertising in the UK to promote the new "Coupe F2". These advertisements incorporated the tag-line, "On average, men think about the F2 every 6 seconds."

The "F2 Evolution" became available on 14 June 1999, almost one-year after the "F2" had appeared. The "F2" was discontinued and the new "F2 Evolution" effectively replaced it. The "F2 Evolution" was available with just two colour options, either Silver (metallic) or Cobalt Blue (metallic). It was intended as a limited edition of 1500 units, (though 1513 units were eventually produced). The design was led by McLaren F1 stylist Peter Stevens in conjunction with Hyundai World Rally Team's support company Motor Sports Developments (MSD).

Standard 2.0 SE Coupes were delivered to MSD for mechanical and cosmetic modification. These modifications included a bigger front bumper/spoiler, a modified (larger and higher) rear spoiler with end-plates (these spoilers were designed by Stevens to create zero lift rather than ultimate downforce), a high-lift inlet camshaft (taken from the 1997 1.8-litre Lantra engine) and a 6"x4" freeflow exhaust by Magnex (suppliers to Aston Martin). Wheels were 16" diameter x 7.0J 5-spoke alloys manufactured by TSW (with Yokohama 205/45/16 tyres). There were "F2 Evolution" badges on the front wings and rear valance. Vehicle security was provided by a Thatcham-approved Category 1 alarm/immobiliser system. Inside, there was an uprated Sony stereo, "Coupe F2 Evolution" monogrammed aluminium kick plates, thicker lambswool carpets and cream instrument dials incorporating "F2 Evolution" logos. The front carpet mats were inlaid with silver-coloured circular "Coupe F2 Evolution" badges. The armrest lid between the front seats was covered in stitched leather (rather than the molded plastic found on lesser models). The gear leaver gaiter was of smooth leather, with a chrome trim surround at the base, manufactured by Richbrook. The gear-knob was of a unique design and had a chrome finish. Additionally, new brake pads were co-developed for the F2 Evolution by MSD and AP Racing, these new pads provided better "bite" and improved fade resistance.

The mechanical changes were limited to the camshaft and exhaust improvements. Together these modifications saw an increase in power to 154 hp (115 kW) and torque to 140 lb·ft (190 N·m).

Each car was supplied with a metal MSD badge. This was fitted onto the bulkhead inside the engine bay. This badge displayed the MSD build number of each particular conversion to "F2 Evolution" spec.

Unlike with the previous year's "F2" model, this time no dealer-supplied art-book was supplied. However, a range of "F2 Evolution" lifestyle accessories were made available through Hyundai dealerships, such as "F2 Evolution" branded pens, chairs, clothing and umbrellas etc.

According to Hyundai's product-launch literature, total on-the-road price for the "F2 Evolution" was £19,299 (as of June 1999).

RD2 (1999–2000)

The RD2 Tiburon is an update on the original RD platform and was released for sale in 1999. The RD2 received a facelift that altered the front and rear bumpers and also provided a refreshed interior dash. In South Korea, the RD2 Tiburon was marketed as the "Tiburon Turbulence".

The RD2 headlights have separate enclosures for the high and low beams giving the four headlight look, similar to the third generation Honda/Acura Integra and the sixth generation Toyota Celica. The rear bumper is also reformed receiving larger taillights. The same 140 hp (104 kW) 2.0L engine was carried over producing identical performance. ABS, leather seats, and a sunroof were available in a package, but oddities such as a car with cloth seats and a sunroof, but no fog lights or spoiler, are not unheard of.


  • 1.6 L inline-4-cylinder DOHC Beta

111 hp (83 kW; 113 PS) @ 5800 rpm and 143 Nm (106 lb·ft) torque @ 4,500 rpm.

  • 1.8 L inline 4-cylinder Beta (1997 Base)

130 hp (97 kW; 132 PS) @ 6000 rpm and 171 Nm (122 lb·ft) torque @ 5000 rpm.

  • 2.0 L inline 4-cylinder Beta 1CVT (1997 FX, 1998–2002)

140 hp (104 kW; 142 PS) @ 6000 rpm and 180 Nm (133 lb·ft) torque @ 4800 rpm.

From 1997 to 1999 The Tiburon was offered with a 5-speed manual transmission standard, while a 4-speed automatic w/ overdrive was optional.


  • 1.6-litre:

Acceleration 0–60 mph: 10.8 seconds Top speed: 110 mph (177 km/h) (Auto) 120 mph (193 km/h) (Manual)

  • 1.8-litre:

Acceleration 0–60 mph: 9.0 seconds Top speed: 123 mph (198 km/h)

  • 2.0-litre:

Acceleration 0–60 mph: 8.0 seconds Top Speed: 128 mph (206 km/h) (Auto) 126 mph (203 km/h) (Manual)

Second generation (2001–2008)

The previous-generation Tiburon was discontinued after 2000. Hyundai launched a revised Tiburon in 2002 for the 2003 model year, giving it new styling, larger dimensions, and an optional V6 engine. Tiburon's wheelbase and overall length grew slightly compared to the previous version, increasing curb weight by about 200 pounds (91 kg). In the US, base and GT V6 models were offered with standard front side airbags and optional anti-lock brakes. Base Tiburons retained a new 138 hp (103 kW) 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while GT V6 coupes got the new 2.7-liter 172 hp (128 kW) V6 from Hyundai's Sonata and Santa Fe. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, and a four-speed automatic was optional. The automatic unit had a manual shift gate. Also optional on the GT V6 was a six-speed manual gearbox. Base models and GT V6 automatics rode on 16-inch tires, versus 17-inch for the GT V6 manual models. Tuscani models had all the upgrades being the "Elite" model with separate badging to set it apart from all other models. Both had standard four-wheel disc brakes. Leather upholstery was standard in the GT V6, as well as a rear spoiler (high spoiler std. on 6-speed only). Aluminum pedals and a sunroof were optional.

In 2004, all GT V6's received 17" wheels. A "special edition" of the GT V6 was also released. It featured a "Special Edition" decal-style badge underneath "Tiburon", sport cloth upholstery, a Kenwood stereo, red painted front brake calipers, and multigauges above the radio. Only the 6-speed and automatic transmissions were available. The special edition was available in Jet Black, Rally Red, and Sunburst Yellow only. The new design received praise from a number of automotive journalists, some of which compared it to the Ferrari 456.

In 2005 Hyundai facelifted the Tiburon and reshuffled the model lineup; offering GS, GT, and SE models. The SE was now a separate trim from the GT models. Hyundai's four-cylinder engine went into the GS, while the other two held the 2.7-liter V6. A five-speed manual transmission was standard. A four-speed automatic with a manual shift was optional for GS and GT models, but the SE had exclusive use of a six-speed manual gearbox. Anti-lock brakes was standard on the SE and optional for the GT coupe, which could be equipped with leather upholstery. GS coupes rode on 16-inch wheels, versus 17-inch for other models. All-disc brakes and front side airbags were standard. Anti-lock brakes were made standard on all 2006 model Tiburons.

In the UK, three models were available before and after the 2005 facelift: the 1.6S, 2.0SE and V6. The 1.6S had a single exhaust and leather seats were optional, although following the 2005 facelift half-leather seats were standard. Both other models have twin exhausts and leather seats as standard. The six-speed gearbox was also standard on the V6 model.

A popular modification saw owners of the first GK model removing the air-filter resonator box. The resonator box was located directly in front of the front left hand side wheel, behind the fender. This allowed for a greater airflow to the air filter, gaining a minimal increase of brake horsepower (bhp). Hyundai, seeking cost cuts, adopted this modification for 2004+ models. Hyundai also released a new color for their 2006 Tiburon called Regatta blue, between Tidal Wave blue and Midnight blue, which is Metallic. This color is also available for the 2007 Elantra and Tiburon.

After 20 years, due to lagging sales, Hyundai discontinued the sale of this historically poor performing vehicle. The company was left with factory ground stock units estimated in the thousands, and no dealers were willing to purchase these already one year old units for sale on their lots. Not until Feb 2009, when one enterprising general sales manager, Stephen Mark Staton, Jr. of Savannah, GA devised a plan to remarket the vehicle was Hyundai able to relaunch sales until its final retirement. Although other dealers followed suit and tried to mirror this success, Staton set a record for Tiburon sales worldwide.

In Greece and perhaps other countries, due to high taxation in hi-displacement engines, a 1.6-liter Turbocharged engine was available for some years, producing 145 PS(107 kW)/5800 rpm and 190 Nm (128 lbf)/4300 rpm of torque and making the 1233 kg vehicle capable of accelerating 0–100 (0–60 mph) in 9.3 seconds and achieving a top speed of 210 km/h (131 mph). Fuel consumption was 6.4L/100 km (36.8 mpg).

GK F/L (2005–2006)

Hyundai conducted minor tweaks to the 'GK' model in 2005, for the outgoing named 2006. The vehicle incorporated reworked sleeker blackened "smoked" headlights, redesigned rear tail lights, more aggressive front air dam, a different range of alloy wheel designs, colored stitching on leather seats (half leather seats available for the 1.6 range). The rear window wiper was deleted from 2005 onward. In 2006, Hyundai released the GT Limited Model. This was an upgrade from the GT V6. It included an upgraded tan leather interior, automatic climate controls, a 440w Infinity 6 disc in dash stereo with 10" subwoofer, an upgraded gauge cluster, and side markers. The GT LTD came in black, Blue, and midnight blue.

GK F/L2 (2007–2008)

A more comprehensive facelift was launched in 2007, named the Coupe SIII in markets such as the UK, this time altering the appearance of the car enough to designate it the fourth generation or GK F/L2 reminiscent of the RD1 and RD2 denotations.

The headlights are thinner and angled more aggressively; somewhat similar to the original Tiburon headlights with more straight/sharp lines. The tail lights are similar to the RD2 and GK1 but are somewhat smaller and reflect an aftermarket styling. The fenders lose the "gill fins" and other small changes are seen.

The interior is updated with brushed aluminum accents, new blue backlight scheme for gauges and instrumentation and new seats.

Hyundai later introduced the limited, special edition TSIII (UK). This upgraded, limited edition included quilted leather interior with embroidered logos, stiffer sports suspension, quad exhaust exit pipes, a higher level rear spoiler and an anthracite finish to the alloy wheels. The performance of the TSIII remained the same as the SIII. This is the last model made.

Equipment and safety

The exact specification depends on model and the region where it was sold but these are some of the features available:

  • Anti-lock brakes, Dual Circuit with brake force distribution
  • Front (variable rate) airbags and side airbags
  • Side impact protection bars
  • ESP Stability Control (2007)
  • Traction Control
  • Electric windows, sunroof
  • Heated front seats
  • Trip Computer
  • Air Conditioning / Climate Control
  • Leather / Half-leather / Cloth interior
  • Sports seats
  • Alloy wheels (16" or 17")
  • CD player with cassette and radio
  • Additional gauges featuring torque, real-time fuel consumption and battery voltage

The 2004–2007 models received a 4/5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA.


In the US, the 5-speed retained standard on the GS, GT, and GT Limited, while the upscale SE model came only with a six-speed manual. A four-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic was available for all models.

In the UK and Middle East, the 5-speed manual is standard on the 1.6L and 2.0L versions, while a 6-speed is standard on the top of line 2.7L FX model, A four-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic was available for 2.0L & 2.7L as well.


Magazines road test performance of the car:-

  • 2.7-litre: (5-speed)
    • Acceleration 0–60 mph (97 km/h)
      • Car and Driver 7.6s
    • Acceleration 0–100 mph (161 km/h)
      • Car and Driver 20.9s
    • 1/4 Mile
      • 15.7s@88 mph (142 km/h)
    • Top speed:
      • Car and Driver 136 mph (219 km/h)
  • 2.7-litre: (6-speed)
    • Acceleration 0–60 mph (97 km/h)
      • MotorTrend 7.0s
      • Car and Driver 7.1s
      • MotorWeek 7.1s
      • Road and Track 7.2s (2007)
      • Road and Track 7.6s (2003)
    • Acceleration 0–100 mph (161 km/h)
      • Road and Track 19.3s (2007)
      • Car and Driver 20.6s
      • Road and Track 21s (2003)
    • 1/4 Mile
      • MotorWeek 15.4s@91 mph (146 km/h)
      • Road and Track 15.4s@90.4 mph (145 km/h)
      • Car and Driver 15.6s@90 mph (145 km/h)
      • Road and Track 15.9s@87.6 mph (141 km/h)
    • Top speed:
      • Road and Track 137 mph (220 km/h) (2007)
      • Road and Track 137 mph (220 km/h) (2003)
      • Car and Driver 132 mph (212 km/h)

Marketing and branding

The car is branded as the Hyundai Coupe in some European markets and the Middle East. Also in some markets like Korea the model is sold and branded as a Tuscani. The Tuscani wears a circular badge containing a smaller circle of black and grey horizontal bars which is overlaid with a letter 'T' painted gold on the left and silver on the right. Even in markets where the car is sold as a Hyundai Tiburon or Hyundai Coupe, the name Tuscani has become quite popular. Many cars have been modified aftermarket to be rebadged with Tuscani emblems. In Canada, a special edition of the Tiburon is sold as a "Tuscani edition". There was a rumour that Hyundai is considering a plan to branch off the Tuscani name as a complete sub brand for more exclusive, sporty, and upmarket models. The existence of the name is most likely to achieve greater sales where the Hyundai name has cloying associations with more budget products.

In some markets secondary badging may denote engine size and variations such as trim, wheel, and other options. These badges include GS, GT, SE and FX, although some use FX across the entire range available. In certain markets, certain exterior colors are not available and identification may require noticing subtle local differences such as alloy wheels, spoilers or dealer fit options such as in car entertainment systems. These can all change from year to year and from market to market, so the variation is quite significant. One notable difference is that the 1.6 engine always has a single exhaust on the right hand side, in all markets where it is sold.

See also

  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe, a Rear Wheel Drive equivalent sports car


External links

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