Hyundai is moving up in the world with the introduction of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, a rear-drive sports car with a 3.8 liter V-8 producing over 300 bhp. There is also a two-liter turbo, with a reasonable amount of power – 212 bhp. The Genesis Coupe will be going into production for 2009.
Hyundai has been producing the Tiburon Coupe for some time, and as front-wheel drive coupes go, it is a pleasant car, but lacks the sharp handling you can get with rear-drive. Also, the engines lack the power to keep up.
With the Genesis it is all change, except in the styling, which is pretty good, but does share some lines with the Tiburon. It is a smooth fastback, but gets more sculptured sides, and an unusual window line. The front end has a new corporate grille, but the main grille is a shallow wide air intake, which is deeper at the sides than in the middle. The sporty look is accentuated by the air outlets in the hood.
At the rear, there are two rectangular exhaust pipes at the sides, and a lip spoiler is built into the hood. Altogether, pretty smart. Hyundai claims that the body is light and stiff, being lighter than the Nissan G37, for example. The weight will be around 3,600 lb (1,630 kg).
This makes the Genesis Coupe more of a coupe than a sports car, as it will weigh over 200 lb (90 kg) more than the Nissan 350Z, and is 14 in (350 mm) longer. No doubt this extra size results from the use of an underbody from a sedan.
Inside is a sporty interior, with circular analog rev-counter and speedo, and seats that seem to give plenty of lateral support. These can be trimmed in a variety of materials.
The new car looks as if it is a genuine 2+2, being quite large at 184 x 75 x 54.5 in (4,666 x 1,902 x 1,386 mm), and has a 111 in (2,820 mm) wheelbase. It is the same size as the Infiniti G37, or Audi S5.
Beneath the hood is Hyundai’s new 3.8 liter V-6, part of a new modular range, and which develops 310 bhp at 6,000 rpm, with maximum torque of 263 lb ft at 4,700 rpm, indicating a pretty high specific output with reasonable mid-range torque.
The new V-6 has aluminum block and heads, with variable inlet valve timing. There is a also a two-stage intake manifold, as is now almost standard on sporty engines.
Both engines are coupled to six-speed manual boxes, with the option of automatics with manual shifting. The two-liter engine gets a five-speed automatic, and the 3.8 liter the ZF six-speed box.
Hyundai has followed the trend to the use of Brembo brakes on its sporty models, the 3.8 liter Genesis getting 13.4 in (340 mm) diameter front and 13.0 (330 mm) diameter rear brakes. 18-inch diameter wheels are standard, with 255/35 ZR front and 275/35 ZR rear tires.
Electronics are not forgotten, so in addition to ABS, electronic brake distribution and brake assist, there is stability control as standard.
Overall, the specification of this new sports car is up where it should be, and the performance should be competitive, even though it is more biased toward the coupe market.