2009 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

After appearing in lightly disguised "concept" form at last fall's L.A. auto show, Hyundai's Genesis coupe now presents itself in showroom-ready trim. Riding on a cut-down version of the Genesis sedan's rear-wheel-drive platform, the coupe has a wheelbase that is 4.6 inches shorter, and its overall length is trimmed by 13.6 inches.

The sedan's V-8 engine is nowhere to be seen, but the coupe will get the four-door's 3.8-liter V-6, here bumped up to 310 hp, as well as a 2.0-liter turbocharged four good for 223 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with either engine, and optional automatics will sport five gears (four-cylinder) or six (V-6). A four-wheel independent suspension is standard, as are stability control and antilock brakes. An optional Brembo brake package boasts larger discs and monoblock, four-piston calipers. A limited-slip differential is also available.

The Genesis coupe will be Hyundai's first serious performance car, and the factory promises a 0-to-60-mph time of "under six seconds" for the V-6 (no word on the turbo four) and top speeds of 149 mph (V-6) and 137 mph (four-cylinder).

The car's closest current competitors may be the Infiniti G37 and the Ford Mustang, but the Genesis coupe could also be seen as the second coming of the Nissan 240SX. Widely ignored while it was still in production, the 240SX has achieved fame in the decade since its cancellation as a favorite steed for drifting competitions and for drift fans who want to share in the tail-out good times. A price starting in the low $20,000s should put the Genesis coupe within reach of that market, but whether it will pick up that tire-smoking thread is something we won't know until next spring, when the car goes on sale as a 2010 model.

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