The Hyundai Genesis Coupe Starts Here
While the automotive landscape has evolved over time, one simple equation for the ideal vehicle remains: an engine up front, a manual transmission in the middle and power going to the back. And while we're thumbing through the cookbook, throw in some forced induction for good measure. The recipe is simple, but there isn't much on the market to quench the lust for sideways thrills without selling vital organs. That's all going to change in the spring of 2009 and it's coming from an unlikely source: Korea.
As soon as Hyundai unveiled its rear-wheel-drive Genesis sedan, speculation began that a two-door variant was under way. After debuting a Genesis Coupe concept in Los Angeles last year, the writing was on the wall. At the New York Auto Show, Hyundai showed the production version of its newest play for the hearts and minds of enthusiasts.
The car's styling could be divisive, particularly the swooping swage lines, sloping rear windows and headlamps remarkably similar to those on the Lexus LF-A concept. The proportions take some getting used to, but for people wanting an IS coupe, this could be the budget alternative. Beneath the skin, though, is where the Genesis Coupe has the chance to shine.
Under the sinewy exterior is a shortened version of the Genesis sedan platform, measuring 182.3 inches long and 73.4 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 111 inches. A five-link, independent rear suspension keeps things planted out back, while a dual-link MacPherson arrangement keeps cost, weight and packaging in check up front. Eighteen-inchers fill the wheel wells, with 19-inch, five-spoke rollers as an option (wrapped in 245/40R19 Bridgestone Potenza RE050s). Behind the wheels are 12.6-inch front stoppers and 12.4-inch discs in the rear (both with single-piston floating calipers). Tick the box for the Brembo package and the front and rear rotors grow to 13.4 inches and 13 inches respectively, with four-piston fixed calipers gripping the discs on both ends.
There are two powertrain options: a 3.8-liter DOHC V6 or a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four. The six is also found in the Genesis sedan, producing 310bhp at 6000rpm and 263lb-ft of peak torque from 4700rpm. The block and heads are all aluminum, while induction and exhaust duties are orchestrated by continuously variable valve timing. In manual or automatic versions, there will be six cogs to slice through, with the latter allowing gear selection through Hyundai's Shiftronic manu-matic system. The sprint to 60mph is projected to take less than six seconds.
While the V6 is an easy sell for the hairstylist set, the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four has the most potential. With a small turbo huffing through an air-to-air intercooler and into an aluminum block with a 9.3:1 compression ratio, this engine gathers 223bhp at 6000rpm and 217lb-ft of torque at 2500rpm, going through either a five-speed auto 'box or a six-speed manual. Pony up a few extra dollars and a torsen limited-slip differential will keep the car from doing peg-leg burnouts in front of the local burger joint. As with the six, the heads are also aluminum and variable timing keeps the valves singing on both the intake and exhaust side.
Our main concern, outside of the styling, is the Genesis Coupe's rather portly 3439 pounds (when equipped with the blown 2.0-liter). As tweakable as Hyundai's new turbocharged four might be, the weight issue could prove problematic. While we could do without dual butt-warmers and the Infinity audio system, the standard ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and ESC are welcome fare as long as they're executed properly.
We'll reserve judgment until we execute our exhaustive tests. But for the time being, it seems Hyundai has heard the pleas of enthusiasts and responded.
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