Hyundai’s first sports car, the Scoupe, was little more than an economy car with a sportier body. It didn’t start getting recognition as a sports car until Hyundai decided to drop a turbocharger on its 1.5-liter engine in 1993, bumping its power from 92 horses and 97 pound-feet of torque to 115 horsepower and 123 pound-feet. The turbocharged model was short lived, however, as Hyundai discontinued it following the 1995 model year and replaced it in 1997 with the Tiburon, which lived through 2007.
As we enter the 2015 model year, the Korean automaker has a larger sports car in the Genesis Coupe, but it will reportedly lose its entry-level, turbocharged four-banger and move more upscale in 2015. This leaves a nice gap for a compact sports car in Hyundai’s lineup, and the automaker’s European MD Allan Rushforth told AutoCar that there are discussions within the company about filling this slot.
Rushforth told AutoCar that there is currently an “appetite” for small sports cars, and Hyundai is seriously considering giving into that desire. However, it needs to tread carefully, as sports cars like this are typically very popular when they first roll out, but taper off after only a few years. He also mentioned that this would need to be a global model to be successful and its new N performance division would likely have a big part in crafting it.
In terms of design, Hyundai may look to its recent PassoCorto concept that debuted at the 2014 Geneva Auto show for inspiration. This sleek sports car weighted only 1,852 pounds, thanks to a carbon-fiber chassis, and drew its 262 horsepower from a 1.6-liter, twin-turbo four-pot. If this sports car should become a reality, don’t expect a direct copy of the concept, as Hyundai has made it clear that the PassoCorto will not be a production model. Instead, it will take slight styling cues from it. Also look for power numbers closer to the 210- to 220-horsepower range to put some distance between it and the Genesis Coupe.