Hyundai is billing the 2010 Genesis Coupe as the “evil twin” of the Genesis sedan, which was named the North American Car of the Year for 2009 by a panel of 50 automotive journalists that included me.
But the Coupe, while it does share a lot of components with the sedan, barely looks and feels like a member of the same family, much less a sibling, evil or not.
While the smaller Tiburon was certainly sports-minded, the Genesis Coupe is the company’s first legitimate sports coupe, targeting the American pony-car trio of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.
Those three have standard V-6 engines and optional V-8s. The Genesis Coupe has a standard 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, with 210 horsepower. The optional engine, which came in the test car, is a slightly modified 3.8-liter V-6 from the Genesis sedan. It has 306 horsepower, just nine fewer than the Mustang’s V-8.
Mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, the Genesis Coupe’s V-6 has all the power you need. That said, though, keep in mind that the Genesis sedan has an optional 4.6-liter, 375-horsepower V-8, which could find its way into the Genesis Coupe in a year or two.
The test car came with the “Track” package, which has a beefier suspension, front and rear Brembo disc brakes and bigger 19-inch tires and wheels.
On the road, especially with the Track package, the ride is a little jarring on rough pavement, and there’s moderate road noise, but nothing unacceptable given the performance. Weighing in at about 3,400 pounds, the Genesis Coupe with the V-6 isn’t a featherweight, but it drives like a lighter car. Handling is crisp and precise, though the steering feel still needs some fine-tuning.
Inside, the Genesis Coupe is roomy and well-appointed up front, but like most sports coupes, rear seat room is tight for adults.
All models of the Genesis Coupe, come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, with optional automatics – five-speed for the four-cylinder, six-speed for the V-6. The base four-cylinder starts at $22,750 including freight, a lot of car for the money. The test car with the Sport package started at $29,500, and with shipping and floor mats, totaled $30,365.
Is it worthy competition for the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger? On paper, sure, but I just don’t see many Genesis Coupe customers cross-shopping those three.
They are old school, the Genesis Coupe isn’t: Its angular styling is Japanese video-game, conjured up by a Korean company that, more and more each year, understands its target market.
Sentinel Automotive Editor Steven Cole Smithcan be reached at 407-420-5699, firstname.lastname@example.org or through his blog at Enginehead.com.
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Base price: $29,500
Price as tested: $30,345
EPA rating: 17 miles per gallon city driving, 26 mph highway.
Details: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe with a 3.8-liter, 396-horsepower V-6 engine and a six-speed manual transmission.