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2008 Hyundai Tiburon

2008 Hyundai Tiburon Review

Audi TT

Hyundai Tiburon


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Hyundai calls it a "shark attack." We think it has lots of Sting. Rock musicians aside, we're sure Hyundai intended to take a bite out of the competition when it brought out its original Tiburon three generations ago. It sure must have stung the competition to have an economical sports coupe at oxygen rich sea level (currently base priced at $17,495) rather than the lofty stratosphere of some supercars.

2008 Hyundai Tiburon Interior
2008 Hyundai Tiburon Interior

The 2008 Hyundai Tiburon quite accurately takes a bite out of the competition no matter how one looks at it. Tiburon means "shark," and it's been gnawing through the sporty car pack since this front-drive, four-seater first came out.

Refreshed last year, for 2008 the Tiburon gets touch-ups amid an internet rumor an all-new version might debut around 2009. One current change is a new 200-watt Kenwood AM/FM/XM audio system with CD and MP3 now standard on all models. It includes free satellite connectivity for three months and, says Hyundai, is the first sports coupe with such a system as standard equipment.

Did Tiburon designers haunt Las Vegas for the spectral splash of blue gauge illumination? No matter. It's adjustable depending on taste. Besides, it complements the Tiburon's shark-like "mouth" and sleek side indentions running outside from fore to aft. With dual exhausts and rear spoiler (upscale models), it should slice through waves of air currents with menacing ease.

Two engines power the Tiburon, one a 2.0-liter, 138-horsepower four (base GS model getting 20/28 best fuel economy). The 2.7-liter, 172 HP V-6 with gutsy low-end torque goes on GT, GT Limited and performance ES models. The track-intended ES ($22,845 base) with sport suspension pairs only with a six-speed ZF manual, for the lowest 16/24 fuel economy rating but the highest quotient for driving fun. Hyundai has a track-ready ES rally version coming out as well, with power at all four corners.

And those three months of free XM Satellite radio on the house we mentioned? If Sting doesn't rock your world, then maybe it's time for the Boss to take charge.