Because even with how impressed I’ve been with the Hyundai Genesis sedan (talk about a winner), I was skeptical that the automaker could pull that formula off in a coupe.
In fact, I was betting Hyundai’s image would take a serious blow at the attempt of trying to launch a two-door model of the Genesis. Sedan? “Sure.” But a performance sports coupe? “Not hardly,” was my initial
thought when I first heard about plans for the Genesis sports car.
It’s not that Hyundai’s coupe doesn’t look the part. The exterior styling has all the right lines for a cool a sports car. It kind of puts you in the mind of a cross between the Infiniti G Coupe and its less expensive sibling the Nissan Altima Coupe.
WHO’S GOT THE LOOK
No big surprise there. Intentional or not, Hyundai has developed
a rep for picking up some of the styling cues of hot vehicles in the segments it’s targeting. Only wish Hyundai had gone with the same type of subtle badge treatments on the Genesis coupe in which designers handle the four-door model. There’s an element of mystique about seeing that badgeless Genesis sedan’s front grille on the road.
Still, a sport’s coupe isn’t defined by design alone.
It’s the feeling you get when behind the wheel that really sells you on the car. And with no real history in the segment, I just couldn’t imagine that I’d get a rush from driving a Hyun-dai sports coupe. Even with its positive attributes,the Hyundai Tiburon has never quite conjured up images of some guy blowingthrough the corners of some desolate back road.
Considering how Hyundai has improved over the years with vehicles like the Sonata and Azera, the Genesis sedan wasn’t that far of a stretch. Impressive, but hardly a stretch considering the improvements Hyundai has been making in those segments. A sports coupe, on the other hand? Well, that’s a different story.
Clearly, Hyundai knew that there’d be a few people like me that would necessarily be immediately sold on the idea because as you soon as you step into the coupe there’s set on convincing you it’s worthy of “sports coupe” status.
Interior features include a large speedometer, bucket front seats with large side bolsters for the type of support real enthusiast drivers crave, tachometer where the driver can access driving information that gives you the feel you’re settling in for a track run. The instrument cluster features Hyundai’s signature blue gauge illumination.
If that isn’t enough, then hitting the gas will definitely sell you on the idea.
The rear-wheel-drive car is available in the same 3.8-liter V6 offered in The Genesis sedan with 306 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. The base model (2.0T) features a 210-horsepower turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with 223 lb.-ft of torque.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard for both engines. The Genesis 2.0T coupe is also available in an optional five-speed automatic with the “Shiftronic” mode that functions somewhat like a manual.
The 3.8-liter V6 is available with a ZF or special six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic to handle the additional torque.
LOTS OF FUN
However, it’s how well the Hyundai coupe handles on the road that’s most impressive. I didn’t have an opportunity to spend any track time with the vehicle, but I did have a chance to test its capabilities on some cool roads North of Detroit that Hyundai officials mapped out for the drive. And it’s a gutsy ride.
Hyundai is also adding a tuner-focused performance model, called the R-Spec, to the coupe line up, which will be equipped with includes a 2.0-liter low-pressure turbocharged intercooled four-cylinder
engine delivering 210 hp, an estimated 30 mpg EPA highway ratingand a top speed of 137 mph.
Safety features for the Hyundai coupe includes driver and front passenger advanced frontal airbags, along with front seat-mounted side airbags,
side air curtains and active front head restraints.
• The Genesis Coupe Grand Touring model is available with heated driver and passenger seat, a 360- Infinity premium audio system, a proximity key with push-button start, Xenon HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlamps and auto-dimming mirror.
• Other options include heated mirrors with outside turn signal indicators, a backup warning system, power tilt and slide sunroof and a navigation
Fuel economy ranges from 21 city/30 highway for the 2.0 manual 18 city/26=20 highway for the 3.8-liter automatic.
Pricing starts at $22,000 for the base 2.0T model to $31,000 for the 3.8-liter V6 with the Track package and the available automatic transmission. You can get a manual 3.8-liter V6 model with the Track package for a little under $30,000.
Final analysis? Yup, Hyundai does it again. Now, getting other people to
buy into the concept might take some time considering most don’t think “Hyundai” when it comes to sport coupes.
Of course, having the 2009 North American Car of the Year honor under your belt for the bigger sibling, the Genesis sedan, makes it a whole lot easier When trying to get the message out.
$22,000 - $31,000
Available Track Model
Available heated driver/passenger
Available proximity key with push button start
Optional Infinity premium audio system
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