Exclusivity on a shoestring
The reason for this test is its recent facelift. Over the years, the Coupé has had many different forms, varying from its toy-like early years through to its wild creations with countless lights. It has apparently been a learning process for its Korean designers, with this present generation being the most successful.
Indeed, this latest Coupé gloriously withstands any comparison with its European competitors. The head lights have now been elegantly and sportily designed along one well-placed line. It is this attention to detail in particular that makes it evident how much it means to Hyundai that the Coupé is seen as an object of desire.
For example, looking at the indicators on the side of the car: they are encased in a dark plastic receptacle whose fluid form flows through into the door. The alloys are equipped with a dark Hyundai logo. Even the tank cap radiates this sportiness and attention to detail which belongs to a real enthusiast's car.
On the inside
On the inside, it is the same story. The Coupé is definitely not a sporty version of an existing car. For this reason, the Coupé has a completely different feeling than the fast three-door hatchbacks which are offered by other manufacturers. The Coupé is a cosy cocoon, with sufficient space for two adults. The back seat is only really suitable for any extra luggage or extremely agile acquaintances.
The blue colour of the test car is repeated throughout the interior. All the buttons and indicators are lit in blue. Having extra indicators on the central console is very nice: these display the battery voltage, the present consumption and the actual engine torque.
As it should be in a car like this, the equipment is provided as a complete package. Everything from its electrical side windows via climate control all the way through to cruise-control is standard. The only thing that is not in the standard package is parking assistance, which judging by the inconvenient bodywork this wouldn't be a superfluous luxury. Moreover, any potential purchaser of this car should bear in mind that they would also have to buy their own radio. With their well-chosen positioning, the standard loudspeakers do however make even a simple radio sound good.
Under the bonnet there is either a 2.0 litre four cylinder (143 hp/186 Nm) or a 2.7 litre six cylinder (167 hp/245 Nm). The real enthusiast would of course choose the latter. Starting the car with the windows open, the inspirational tones of that V6 engine can be heard outside.
The Coupé is initially suitable as a luxurious touring car. Irrespective of the revs there is always abundant capacity available, which allows an effortless increase in speed even without changing gears. With sixth gear, the revs still stay low on the motorway. It is so enjoyable racking up the kilometres with this Coupé.
A little bit of tickle
The engine needs only be tickled and the Coupé transforms into a thrilling sports car. Within the stated budget, Hyundai wasn't able to equip the Coupé with rear-wheel drive. Nevertheless this is a highly entertaining sports car. The six cylinder is not aggressive, but once the Coupé is stimulated it's very fast.
In the nicest possible sense, the suspension is firm, or if to be expressed more clearly: it's rock-solid. Consequently, the driver is able to feel exactly what the car is capable of doing. Its limits are endless; braking into corners is no more than an option. Poor road surface, braking in turns or errantly steering wide of the mark: none of it matters. The Coupé remains quite happily in balance and even the most ignorant of drivers feels just like a talented race-driver.
With its renewed Coupé, Hyundai shows where its strengths lie: within a modest budget being able to deliver the best possible performance. In this case, both literally and figuratively. Even though the Hyundai Coupé is affordable, it is simultaneously convincing enough to be an exclusive car. Certainly after its recent facelift, the design can be considered successful. The performances are very good, while at the same time it is practical as a daily form of transport.
From around the £16,000 mark, there are several other faster cars available, but they're not coupés. These cars provide a totally different experience. Fast hatchbacks are only exciting when accelerating. The Hyundai Coupé is always going to be a special ride.