THE timing could not have been better for a whirl in Hyundai’s rejuvenated Tiburon sports car.
It was just the tonic for this tester, who turned 40 shortly before climbing into the cockpit of the Korean speedster.
We share a similar journey, the Tiburon and I: both have hit middle age and are looking to stay in the fast lane a little longer.
The Hyundai was launched in 2001, which in sports car terms, means it has moved into the mid-life crisis zone.
Fortunately, its makers have given the Tiburon _ a name which apparently is Spanish for shark _ a good enough nip-and-tuck to allow it to keep charging on.
There’s no doubting that while it may not be as swift as some of its younger rivals, the looks and determination are still there.
Heads turn as you zoom into the gym car park, fully energised by this look-at-me machine.
The “ts’’ limited edition version, as tested, is particularly stunning, available only in a vivid blue.
This special release variant comes with a power tilt-slide sunroof, perforated black leather interior trim, special badging, special key ring and monogrammed carpet mats.
Tiburon V6 arrives with enhancements inside and out and improvements to safety, comfort and suspension.
The latest version of Hyundai’s and arguably Korea’s best looking car has a new nose, high-riser rear wing and a new design for its 17’’ alloy wheels.
For extra safety, Tiburon adds ESP — with integrated Traction Control — and front seat side thorax airbags to its standard dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, front seat belt pre-tensioners and load-limiters among other features.
Cornering is more direct with new front suspension lower control arms and bushes.
Tiburon’s air-conditioning is now fully automatic and there’s a new high quality audio system and super cool, blue-hue instrument lighting.
A revised front bumper and a full-width lower grille with two horizontal bars and fog light pods at each side, give Tiburon a much wider look and bolder presence on the road.
Exterior colours for the rest of the variants are solid Shine Red, Continental Silver metallic and mica Stone Black.
Standard equipment for all Tiburon’s include cruise control, leather steering wheel rim and auto gearshift knob, engine immobiliser, remote central locking with alarm, electric windows and door mirrors and a trip computer.
The driver’s seat offers adjustable cushion height and tilt and backrest lumbar support while the passenger seat has a memory return to its pre-set position after flipping forward for kerbside access to the rear seats. The two rear seat backs split 50/50 and fold forward for that odd extra big load.
For taller drivers, however, there’s not a great deal of headroom and this combined with poor visibility rearward represent two of the coupe’s shortcomings.
Tiburon still offers an enthusiastic drive to back up its fast looks.
Thanks to its 123kW ‘Delta’ all-alloy, 2.7 litre, quad-cam, 24-valve, V6 engine, it can dash from 0-100km/h in just over 8 seconds.
This is aided by a slick six-speed manual transmission that has ratios closely spaced to deliver brisk acceleration.
Despite its performance credentials, Tiburon is quite fuel efficient averaging around 10 litres for every 100km covered.
Underneath, there’s big four-wheel disc brakes, all-independent suspension with Sachs gas dampers, MacPherson struts up front, a multi-link arrangement with Chapman struts aft and stabiliser bars front and rear, all tuned on the sporty side but with a ride comfort element.
Like all Hyundai models, Tiburon comes with Australia’s first unlimited kilometre new car warranty, applicable within Hyundai’s original and longest-established factory five-year term.
Price is another of the Korean “Shark’s’’ big drawcards.
The Tiburon is available at $34,990* for the six-speed manual and $36,780* for the Selectronic sequential automatic, with a factory-fitted power tilt/slide sunroof just $1500 extra. The special edition “ts’’ model, with its added trinkets, is priced from $37,590.
It is a must-consider for those who refuse to accept the rapid onset of middle age.