In the nearly four decades since the U.S. arrival of the Datsun 240Z, many new sport coupes have claimed to be that car’s modern equivalent, but Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe may finally be the true second coming.
That is because, like the early Datsun, the Hyundai comes from an Asian country that still garners only modest regard for the quality of its products, though evidence points to significant recent advances. Also, the Datsun targeted a specific established model and introduced a powerful, stylish competitor at a compelling price. In this case, it is the Infiniti G37 Coupe that lies in the crosshairs, and the Hyundai competitor looks as if it will be too good for shoppers in that segment to ignore.
Like the Infiniti, the Hyundai has a powerful V6 engine, in this case a 310-hp (231-kW) 3.8-L powerplant. But many high-performance tuners and drift competition enthusiasts, who will be attracted by the car’s rear-wheel-drive configuration, prefer turbocharged four-cylinder engines, so the company also offers a 223-hp (166-kW) 2.0-L I4. Both engines are tuned to produce more power when fueled with higher octane gas, letting customers choose between performance and price. In addition, both engines will be available with six-speed manual transmissions, though the four-cylinder’s automatic is a five-speed while the V6 gets six forward gears.
These engines are packaged as alternatives to one another, rather than one being positioned above the other, so that a customer who wants a fully loaded four-cylinder model can buy it.
The maximum-performance SE equipment package includes Brembo four-piston brakes, 19-in aluminum wheels, HID headlights, “track-tuned” suspension, a strut tower brace, and a limited-slip differential. Even the entry-level GS trim includes electronic stability control (a key feature in a car that appeals to an accident-prone customer demographic), traction control, six airbags, and power windows and locks.
“We struggled to keep an attractive price at a high level of standard equipment,” acknowledged Product Manager Derek Joyce.
Underpinning the Coupe are some of the chassis parts from the Genesis sedan.
“It is loosely based on that car,” Joyce said. The five-link independent rear suspension is carried over from the sedan, but the front suspension is the coupe’s own strut design.
The car is slated to arrive in the U.S. in January 2009 as a 2010 model, so additional details will have to wait until the full introduction of the car later this year.