2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: New player in the sports car arena
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Last year, Hyundai made a splash and gained a ton of respect in the automotive community with its luxury Genesis. This year they have improved on the theme with the introduction of a luxury sports car, the Genesis Coupe.
Competing with current “Pony” cars, at the 300-hp level, and taking on the upscale luxury sports coupes as well, the Genesis Coupe is aggressively priced under $30,000,
Assembled in Ulsan, Korea, 86 percent of its parts originate in Korea, and with low labor costs, Hyundai has been able to continually upgrade its fit, finish and quality, without significantly incurring the high production rates that would drive a similar American- , German- or Japanese-built coupe above $40,000 and perhaps over $50,000 when the mythical cost of a “badge” is thrown in.
With design cues similar in some respects to the Infiniti G37, and just the slightest hint of Bimmer, the Genesis Coupe glides on its own with fluid lines from its long hood, to its sloping roof, wing-shaped molded headlights, side line that transmogrify into the attractive and curving rear that culminates into a large spoiler. The entire look says luxury sports sedan with European styling, Asian hints and American appeal, as evidenced by large, shiny 19-inch alloy sport wheels, and power tilt slide sunroof. Covered in attractive Nordschleife Gray paint, the Genesis Coupe looks ready to run with style, class and speed.
As a note of information, Nordschleife is the ("Northern Loop") of what were four track configurations of the famous Nurburgring, race and test track in Nurburg, Germany. Why a Korean designer chose a German track name for its paint is subject to conjecture.
Measuring out at 182.3 inches long, 73.4 inches wide and 54.5 inches high on a 111-inch wheelbase, with a low 0.32 coefficient of drag, the car is built for performance and looks fast, even while standing still.
I test drove the 3.8 Track M/T model and upon popping the hood is it easy to see that Hyundai can no longer be considered strictly a small-engine carmaker, as verified by the Genesis powerplant, a 3.8-liter Lambda DOHC V-6 engine that is said to deliver 306-horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque on regular unleaded. My dyno tests never got higher than 299 hp, but that is still a whale of a power hit for a 3389-lb. coupe. Coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission, V-6 DOHC 24-valve engine, engine utilizes Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing and a new Variable Intake System that helps cylinders breathe efficiently at both low and high RPM. The better-breathing results in outstanding off-the-line acceleration and passing performance and remarkable fuel efficiency. The V-6 engine uses an alloy block and cylinder heads for lighter weight and thermal efficiency and features timing chains with no scheduled maintenance. The set-up and light weight enabled me to fly from zero to 60mph in from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. With an abundance of low-end torque, you jump from the start. There was slight hesitation on the track and in traffic at mid-range, but high-range passing response is excellent as well, and I covered the quarter-mile in 14.8.
On the autocross and in tight turning tests, I found that the rear power helped the 19-inch tires grip with alacrity, and there was no indication of understeer in any tests.
EPA rated at 17mpg in city driving and 26mpg on the highway, my text coupe delivered an average of 23.2mpg on trips around town and from Central Penn to the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland.
The interior is classy and certainly puts Hyundai on equal footing with most other carmakers for style and plushness. However, driving with two buddies, both auto industry pros -- a Detroit scheduler/production executive and a long-time Big-3 manufacturer’s dealership mechanic – we all found that fit and finish still needs some improvement to join the luxury world. The door closes, not with a confident CLUNK, but with a tinny CLINK.
The gear-shift orientation is not intuitive and is poorly designed so that in neutral, at a stop, there is a strong and frequent propensity to shift into reverse, rather than first.
However, on looks alone, the interior looks more lavish than its price tag would indicate. The cozy cockpit is filled with such amenities as a proximity key with push-button start, blue gauge illumination, black leather seating, heated power driver’s seat with lumbar, heated mirrors with illuminated signals, 360-watt, 10-speaker, Infinity sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, XM Satellite radio capability, iPod/USB/AUX input jacks and power sunroof.
Safety items include front, front-side and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control and ABS with brake assist.
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track M/T is base priced at $29,500, making it arguably the only true luxury car on the market priced under $30,000. The only add-ons my test Genesis had were emission requirement certification for $95, carpeted floor mats for $30 and inland freight and handling charges of $750, for a sticker price of $30,375.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, and former assistant editor of VETTE has been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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