Vince Pornelos / Vince Pornelos | October 27, 2010 14:06
Power PlayWhen most people encounter a Hyundai, what usually comes to mind are affordable little cars or popular family vans. Well, with the introduction of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe last year, we can now add full-on sportscars to that list.
For starters, you have a wide, low slung coupe body, one that evokes a true sense of performance and pace. Broad shoulders, a high beltline, pronounced curves and concave surfaces complete the Genesis Coupe's aggressive sports car bodywork. The large 18 inch sport wheels and rear wing contribute to that demeanor, and definitely makes it look fast and angry on the road, even when just sitting still.
Then you've got the interior. The GenCoupe's cockpit is clearly designed to enhance the driving experience. Ergonomics are top rank with a perfectly shaped steering wheel with anatomic grips, along with the comfortable placement of the shift knob. Analog gauges like the large speedometer and tachometer are ideally positioned so the driver can immediately access critical driving information and features Hyundai's signature blue gauge illumination. Bucket front seats with large side bolsters offer excellent lateral support for high-performance driving.
Now that we're done with the design and other elements, it's time to get to the nitty-gritty: the driving dynamics. It starts under the hood with a powerful 3.8 liter Lambda RS V6 under the hood. Dual overhead cams, 24 valves and dual CVVT makes it good for a whopping 306 horsepower. What's new with the Genesis Coupe is that unlike past Coupes from Hyundai, the Genesis is rear-wheel drive, making better use of all the power and torque with a 6-speed ZF automatic tranny.
Fire up the engine and you'll hear a subtle growl. Launching the car and light up the rear tires, and the Genesis Coupe rockets from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in under 6 seconds and on to a top speed of 240 km/h. At high revs, the growl turns to a finely tuned wail, and is much more than enough to send the traction control indicator blinking away when you floor the throttle.
Toned down, the GenCoupe drives and rides like a fast grand tourer. In slow speeds, the GenCoupe does very well and drives with ease, expectedly a bit bumpy as a sportscar should. Enter a corner at speed however, and you'll feel the great suspension system work for you. The Genesis Coupe has a fully sport tuned suspension system with MacPherson struts up front and a five-link arrangement in the back. The front suspension is mounted to the body via a solid subframe which is lighter and stronger than a multi-piece component would be. To help reduce body roll and tune the Genesis Coupe's at-the-limit handling, 24-mm diameter front and 19-mm diameter rear stabilizer bars are used. The GenCoupe is not that light a car, but it can behave like it, and always feels confident when taking any corner or series of corners..
Steering is positive and returns great feedback, as the Genesis Coupe features hydraulic assisted power steering, whereas quite a few models in the Hyundai lineup use a rather numb motor driven system. Where the Genesis could use some work would be in terms of braking power, as the standard brakes feel inadequate for a high performance car. A Brembo brakes equipped variant is offered by Hyundai for Php1.99M.
Of course there are other things like the superb Infinity audio system, the sunroof, automatic climate control and the plethora of safety features (brake control systems, traction control, stability control and 6 airbags), but those are just details. It's the inspiring drive that truly defines the Genesis Coupe. To top it all off, the price for this level of style and performance comes in at a very reasonable PhP 1.858M.
I really get the sense that the GenCoupe was really aimed at the Nissan 370Z. And why not? The 370Z is one of the most successful sports cars of late, and makes for a fitting benchmark to match... and surpass.
With the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai is aiming for more than just reentering the sporty coupe class, it's going for a power play.