The Korean automaker continues to amaze the public and pundits alike by moving upstream but keeping its prices affordable. This time Hyundai used that equation to develop the Genesis (rear-wheel-drive) Coupe.
Putting power to the rear wheels means that the Genesis Coupe has automotive chops that front-wheel drive competitors simply can’t match. Rear-wheel drive endows the Genesis Coupe with better performance than front-wheel-drive, a short rear overhang and it provides better weight distribution.
There is the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 210 horsepower and a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 306 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The four-cylinder can be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic gear box. The V6 comes with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The automatic transmissions can be equipped with paddle shifters.
Although no convertible is planned, the horsepower will be bumped up a bit. Sales fall quickly for cars in this segment so automakers my constantly keep them fresh. More oomph under the hood is a good way to do it.
Either model has a sport tuned suspension. An engineer told me that Hyundai wanted the Genesis' driver to feel confident and secure behind the wheel but comfortable too. I think they hit the mark.
We had a V6 with a manual transmission to drive to the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch. The wind was gusting up to 70 mph, not the greatest track conditions, but the Genesis Coupe wasn't blown all over the road.
Before I got on the track, I drove the two-liter turbo on surface streets and found its drive train smoother than the six-cylinder. However, the wind made me reluctant to let the car stretch out on a straightaway near Pahrump.
The seats were comfortable and Hyundai did a better than average job of making inexpensive plastic look pretty good. Our test car was outfitted with satellite radio, a CD player, USB and auxiliary jacks. The Genesis can also be equipped with Xenon headlights.
There was road hum from the tires versus road noise. And since there was so much wind, it was hard to tell whether what we heard was caused by the force of the wind or a lack of soundproofing.
And the Hyundai Genesis Coupe engine, four or six, sounder good. In these wide open spaces, there was ample opportunity to press he pedal to the metal and that's exactly what I did. The engine note was smooth, authoritative. But the wind didn't allow for any prolonged bursts of speed.
The car had a 10-speaker 315 watt Infinity premium audio system with seven channels of amplification. There was a midrange center speaker, tweeters, midrange woofers, woofers and sub woofer. It was dual channel rather than surround sound but it still sounded pretty good to me.
I had a chat with a Bridgestone representative, too, and I was somewhat surprise to learn that the Bridgestone had developed 18- and 19-inch Potenza performance tires especially for the Genesis Coupe.
Although it had four seats, there will be no normal sized adults sitting in the rear set because head room was non-existent. That's a characteristic of cars in this segment. And my driving partner did note that the Genesis Coupe lacked a telescoping steering wheel, although it tilted. But that was more gripe than outrage.
The 2010 Genesis Coupe starts at $22,000 for the four-cylinder and a fully equipped six-cylinder will top out at $31,000. Oh, did I mention that the car looked pretty good, too.
That amount of money for the kind of performance and good looks that the Hyundai Genesis Coupe offers spells trouble for competing automakers.