The 5 Most Effective Hyundai 2.0T Engine Upgrades. Let’s go over the history and the top 5 best Hyundai 2.0T engine upgrades to date. The Hyundai 2.0 Theta engine first appeared in the automotive market in 2004 in the Hyundai Sonata. Before making a comeback in 2009 with the 2.0T engine in the Genesis Coupe. Nonetheless, Hyundai has continued to renovate and change the capabilities of this engine over the last decade in order to improve reliability and performance. The Hyundai 2.0T engine, on the other hand, has a number of room for improvement.
Theta II MPI & GDI in Genesis 2.0 Turbo will be the primary focus of this article. But many of the listed upgrades and insights can be applied to the many variations of the Hyundai 2.0T engine.
Hyundai and Kia have displayed a variety of 2.0T variants ranging in power from 163 hp to 255 hp in certain turbo variants. As a result, some may regard these engines as mediocre in stature; however, the five engine upgrades discussed in this article may provide the boost that every 2.0T driver seeks.
Understanding the Different Hyundai 2.0T Engine Variants
Those who know their exact engine variant of the Hyundai 2.0 Theta engine are welcome to scroll down and use the necessary engine upgrade information. This engine has been in production in various models since 2004 and has thirteen overall variants. This article, however, will only cover the five main categories of Hyundai 2.0T engine variants.
Let’s take a look at these engines, see what models they belong to, and see what specifications each variant offers. Then we’ll go over the best upgrades for the Hyundai 2.0T engine and its various requirements.
Theta (First Version)
Theta engines were initially available in three sizes: 1.8L, 2.0L, and 2.4L. From 2005 to 2008, the 1.8 version was used in the Kia Optima.
At 4000-4250 revs per minute, this Hyundai 2.0L Theta produces 142 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque while weighing approximately 295 pounds. This engine is one of the main points of this article, as the 2-liter variant will be the focus of the listed upgrades. Unlike modern timing belts, the initial Hyundai 2.0 engine employs a timing chain.
Because this version of the theta engine (the 2.0L MPI) is so important in terms of usage and the variety of different models it is applied to. There is a wide range of upgrades for the Theta II engine. This engine was also required for the development of the production turbo model, which is still widely used by both Kia and Hyundai today. At 4500-4600 rpm, the first-generation Theta II produces 163 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque.
The 2.4L version of the Theta engine II was also used in a variety of cars in the American, Canadian, and European markets until 2021 (Kia Sportage). At 4,000 rpm, the 2.4L engine produces 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque.
Kia and Hyundai continued to use the Theta II Turbo engine as the foundation for a variety of different models on the market.
Turbo Theta II
The Hyundai (and Kia) Theta II Turbo engine is used in seven current production vehicles and seven discontinued vehicles from the last decade. Theta II Turbo’s most recent production form can currently be found in current models as well as others:
- 2009-2014 Genesis G70
- 2009-2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
- (from 2018 to the present) Hyundai i30N
- (from 2021 to the present) Hyundai Kona N2012 to 2020 Santa Fe (Hyundai)
- 2009-2019 Sonata by Hyundai 2018-present Veloster N (Hyundai Veloster)
- 2011-2019 Optima Kia Sorento 2015-2020 Kia
Regardless of the 2.0T engine variant, they all share the same inline four-cylinder 2.0L turbo DOHC design. Each Theta II engine has the same 86mm bore and stroke, but the compression ratios vary depending on the machine. The economical cost of these engines, combined with their fuel efficiency, was recognized by Hyundai and consumers alike, making the Theta II Turbo very market-friendly.
Theta GDI, 2.0T Theta II MPI, and 2.0L Theta GDI
The multi-port injection (MPI) engines are exclusive to Genesis Coupe models manufactured between 2009 and 2014. The 2014 Genesis Coupe has a good power output of 275 hp and 275 torque on 93 octane fuel.
Direct injection (GDI) engines use direct injection technology to help increase the overall capability of the Theta II engine. This could be seen in earlier Hyundai engines that had more power before the company switched to smaller turbo 2.0T GDI engines in certain models. To summarize, the 2.0 GDI G4KL is the most recent or final production engine variant found in the Genesis G70 and Kia Stinger. The stock G4KL produces 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
Introduction to the Top Hyundai 2.0T Engine Upgrades
With that basic overview of the Hyundai 2.0 engines and their production variants, as well as a look at its recall history and differentiating pros and cons. Let’s move on to the top 5 upgrades that would most benefit a Hyundai 2.0T engine. In addition to the upgrades discussed in this article, it may be necessary to consider “supportive” modifications if necessary. Tuning, intake, shift kits, and exhaust modifications are the four main focuses that benefit and upgrade a Hyundai 2.0T engine.
However, certain Genesis Coupe drivers have demonstrated on social media and YouTube how to gain significant power with some inexpensive bolt-on modifications and a simple tune. For example, among the immediate easier modifications for newer Genesis Coupe drivers (before we get into the general suggestions), here is one that some may find popular:
- HKS blowoff valve (prices range from $200 to $270)
- AM intake of cold air (Has shown an immediate gain of 8-10hp in 2015 Sonata 2.0 Turbo dyno test, prices range per model, and vary in wear and tear versus purchasing a new air intake)
- ATQ Shift Kit (list price $235, but up to 35% throw reduction)
These are three recommendations made at random by various Genesis enthusiasts online that appear to meet their needs and desires for engine upgrades, particularly with bolt-on and minor projects or additions. But first, let’s go over the five specific areas of improvement that the Hyundai 2.0T engine can immediately and affordably improve.
GenRacer currently sells a universal blowoff valve for a reasonable price, manufactured by HKS, for around $250. Now, let’s look at the top 5 Hyundai 2.0T engine upgrades.
The Top 5 Hyundai 2.0T Upgrades
These are the best significant upgrades for the Hyundai 2.0 Turbo engine in no particular order; however, intake and tuning are generally regarded as the most important introductory modifications to the Hyundai 2.0T engine upgrade options.
- Tuning (listed second because a reputable standard for tuning the Hyundai 2.0T engine is difficult to come by, and the validity of aftermarket “chips” that promise extreme performance growth. (This will be discussed further below within the tuning section).
- Options for downpipe modification
- FMIC (Front Mounted Intercooler)
- And, dare I say it, a possible shift kit for those who want to get a true feel for their Hyundai 2.0T engine, variants, and/or potential upgrades.
1. Hyundai 2.0 Turbo Intake Improvements
One of the most important first steps toward upgrading your Hyundai 2.0T engine is an upgraded intake system. One customer mentioned how the AEM intake and Magnaflow exhaust worked perfectly together to increase productivity in the Hyundai 2.0T engine.
Bolt-on intake systems and combos are obviously the simplest way to add quick horsepower to your engines without breaking the bank. Fortunately, there are numerous similar products available on our website. Check out our other articles on Intake upgrades and modifications for more information on intakes and varying intake upgrades.
AEM primarily provides intake upgrades for later Sonata and Genesis Coupe models. Prices and labor can range from $140 for off-brand intake kits to $430-500 for a specific intake kit. However, with the increase in price comes an increase in horsepower, which is what every driver is looking for when looking for the 5 best Hyundai 2.0T engine upgrades.
2. Hyundai Theta Engine Modification
Certain internet lore has spread about the dynamic changes that a tune can produce on the Genesis Coupe as well as other 2.0T engine drivers looking for a higher level of performance. Tuning may be the only and primary modification for your 2.0T engine, or it may be required to maximize the output of other modifications with a supportive tune.
- Gains of 15-30+whp
- Gains in subjective torque
- Increasing Fuel Economy
- Data logging and monitoring on computers
Tuning has numerous potential benefits for any engine. A quick tune is a quick way to read and clear certain codes that may be minor fixes to maximize engine performance and capability. Tuning should undoubtedly be considered as a primary option or a necessary supportive measure for those who have also made other modifications.
3. Hyundai 2.0T Down Pipe Modifications
Downpipe modifications should always be considered as one of the first bolt-on modifications for a turbo engine looking to boost horsepower and torque. The downpipe is structurally connected to the engine’s turbo, making it one of the most important supporting modifications for a turbo engine. The following are the general advantages of a properly installed downpipe modification:
- up to a 10-20 whp increase
- up to a 10-20 wtq increase
- improved turbo spool
- improved sounds
- lowering backpressure to protect engine health
A downpipe modification may provide more aggressive sounds as well as a more turbo-like driving experience. A potential modification can improve torque performance while also improving the turbo spool’s and engine’s overall longevity by relieving backpressure.
4. Front Mounted Intercoolers/FMICs for 2.0L Turbo
An intercooler can be extremely important for a turbo engine, especially given the heat produced by the turbo’s air compression. Intercoolers are thus critical in maintaining internal turbo engine temperatures.
Maximizing an active turbo engine’s internal cooling allows the engine to perform to its full potential. Rather than saving money on an intercooler. We recommend getting the best quality possible due to how important the modification is for engine longevity and performance.
Summit Racing sells a variety of intercoolers, including the Mishimoto Z-Line Intercooler, which is currently on sale for $180. Pricing for an FMIC modification or modification kit can range from $120 to $500, with widely varying results of horsepower improvement typically capping around 5-10% of overall power gains from the engine (rather than specific horsepower).
5. Shift Kits/Short Shifters for the Genesis Coupe
Shift kits (also known as “short shifters”) are aftermarket modifications that replace the stock gear shifter in manual transmission vehicles. This type of modification allows drivers to reduce shifting time while increasing overall shifting times in order to become more efficient. Some drivers may discover that installing a shift kid mod reduces the time it takes to shift from gear to gear during their driving experience.
A short shift kit for 2011-2016 Hyundai Genesis Coupes is currently available for $160 from GenRacer. Although short shifters are primarily for racers and car modders, they have been shown in the car community to improve transmission response and overall engine response.
Summary of the Best Hyundai 2.0T Engine Upgrades
The Hyundai 2.0T engine is efficient and affordable in all of its variants and applications across the automotive industry. The engine has a history of recall issues. But it maintains a consistent market presence and provides drivers with numerous modification and upgrade options. This four-cylinder engine responds well to upgrades and proper installation of each modification.
When dealing with a Hyundai 2.0T driver looking for immediate upgrades, tuning and intake modifications should usually come first. These are typically the most cost-effective and engine-efficient options. If you’re still looking for more power and control, downpipe modifications and a new front-mounted intercooler should be your next step.
Finally, a shift kit or short-shifter may provide a driver with the additional feel required behind the Hyundai 2.0T engine and its many variations. With the addition of these upgrades to the Hyundai 2.0T engine. Drivers could potentially gain 20-50hp (especially within the Genesis Coupe).
Despite the extensive number of previous recalls of Hyundai 2.0T engine variants, and the associated issues ranging from the crankshaft to various oil-flow issues. The engine remains on the market and amongst consumers. Most importantly, with our five listed upgrades and other helpful mods, the Hyundai 2.0T engine can be really fun and beneficial for a small amount of money.