ATLANTA — Buckle up and get ready for the ride because this isn’t your average coupe.
The all-new Hyundai Genesis Coupe is now arriving at North American dealerships marking the Korean automaker’s second entry into the rear-wheel drive performance division.
Following last year’s launch of the Genesis Sedan — which by the way earned North American Car of the Year honors — the Genesis Coupe is a unique platform.
Call it a fraternal twin that while developed at the same time as its sedan sibling, was carried out on a blank sheet of paper in a separate part of the building of Hyundai’s North American Design Center in California.
Patterned after the 2006 Talus Concept — which evolved into the 2007 Genesis Coupe Concept introduced at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, the final production model features striking styling cues that sets it apart from any vehicle on the road.
Featuring powerful curves, undulating beltline and “Z” bodyside lines giving it a sports car wedge, standing still or in motion there is no doubt the Genesis is a performance-oriented coupe.
During a product launch held in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to drive both the turbo I-4 and V-6 versions that power the 2010 Genesis Coupe, which has a base price starting at $22,000.
I’m a fan, a huge fan.
This car not only looks good, it handles like its on a rail and is an absolute blast to drive.
For starters, the Genesis Coupe is available in six trim lines — 2.0T, 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Track, 3.8, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track.
As would stand to reason, the 2.0T models are powered by Hyundai’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 that produces 210 horsepower and 223 lbs.-ft. torque. Mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with paddle-shift Shiftronic, the 2.0T models require regular unleaded gasoline and have an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway with a top speed of 137 mph.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch Euroflange alloy wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires, electronic stability control with traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and brake-force distribution, sport-tuned suspension, tire pressure monitoring system, front airbags, front side airbags and curtain side-impact airbags, active front head restrains, driver’s seat lumbar support, air conditioning, remote keyless entry with alarm, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power windows/door locks and mirrors, AM/FM/XM/MP3/CD audio system with six speakers and iPod jack, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control and trip computer, automatic headlamps and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 2.0T Premium adds power driver seat, 360-watt Infinity audio system with 10 speakers, proximity key with push-button start, auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink and compass, power tilt and slide sunroof and navigation system (mid-model availability).
Designed for performance and customization, the Track edition features 19-inch gunmetal-finish alloy wheels with high-performance tires, Brembo braking system, track-tuned suspension, torsen-type limited-slip differential, black leather bolster seats, aluminum pedals, aero wipers, rear spoiler, Xenon HID lamps, fog lamps and comes only with the six-speed manual transmission.
Later in the model year Hyundai will introduce a 2.0T R-Spec model.
The 3.8 Genesis Coupe models (base price starting at $25,000) are powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 (306 horsepower/266 lbs.-ft. torque) with a power-to-weight ratio of 11.1 and a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds.
Also requiring regular unleaded fuel, it is mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel mounted paddle-shift Shiftronic controls and has an EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg highway.
Additional standard features on the Genesis 3.8 include fully automatic temperature control, premium door sill plates, chrome front fascia accents and fog lights.
The 3.8 Grand Touring adds leather seat interior, power driver’s seat, heated driver and passenger seat, 360-watt Infinity audio system with 10 speakers, proximity key with push-button start, HID lamps, auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink and compass, heated mirrors with outside turn indicators, backup warning system, power tilt and slide sunroof and navigation system (mid-year availability).
The 3.8 Genesis Coupe is also available in a Track edition.
With production taking place at Hyundai’s Ulsan, South Korea assembly plant, officials are projecting U.S. sales of upwards of 12,000 units for the first calendar year of the new Genesis Coupe, however, production will be geared toward demand.
Officials also anticipate a 60 percent take rate for the 3.8 V-6 version, with the remaining 40 percent of sales opting for the 2.0T models.
With U.S. crash testing taking place in June, Hyundai is expecting top five-star ratings from the National Institute of Traffic Safety Administration.
Available at price points thousands less than its key competitors, the 2010 Genesis is designed to go head-to-head against the Infiniti G37 Coupe, Mazda RX-8 GT, Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, Honda Civic Si and BMW 335i Coupe.
As with all Hyundai models, the 2010 Genesis Coupe includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty with roadside assistance.
While considered a “fraternal twin” to the North American Car of the Year Genesis Sedan, don’t be surprised if the Genesis Coupe brings home a few top awards of its own this year.
The 2010 Genesis Coupe is that good, and absolutely worth a test drive.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association and Midwest Automotive Media Association. E-mail Neal at email@example.com.