It’s with a heavy heart that we present an obituary of sorts for yet another big-capacity engine falling by the wayside. The latest victim is Hyundai‘s Tau, the company’s first and only self-developed V8 plus the most powerful engine it’s ever made.
First arriving in 2008, the Tau went on to power numerous Hyundai, Kia and Genesis cars. It was already on shaky ground after recently being pulled from the Kia 9, leaving the outgoing Genesis G90 as its sole application. The G90’s incoming replacement will reportedly use a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 in the range-topping edition, meaning Hyundai’s V8 will be dead by the end of the year.
Appearing on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines in multiple years, the Tau was a replacement for the Omega, which was developed in partnership with Mitsubishi. The former was initially dubbed the Tau due to the use of multi-port injection, becoming the ‘GDI’ from 2012 to coincide with the introduction of direct injection. It was further updated in 2015 to include a tweaked variable valve timing system, an increased compression ratio and a quieter cam chain.
In its most potent production guise, the naturally-aspirated lump made 414bhp and 376lb ft. Respectable figures, if not exactly ground-breaking. Rhys Millen Racing took the engine one step further, though, chucking it in a special Genesis coupe made from the SEMA show and extracting around 450bhp after the fitting of a stainless steel exhaust and a few other mods. There’s some engine swap inspiration for you.
The impending demise of the Tau engine isn’t exactly devastating for us here in the UK, this being a V8 we never got here. Although the Hyundai Genesis (which subsequently became the Genesis G80) was sold in desperately small numbers in the UK, it was only available with a 3.8-litre V6.
But still, the death of any big, atmospheric engine is always a sad thing, as the population of such beasts dwindles. Tau V8 - we never really knew you, but we’re sad you’re leaving.