Hyundai generously offered up a quick ride (not drive) in a pre-production Genesis coupe during an event for the Genesis sedan, and I jumped at the chance. The quick ride didn’t exactly show off the coupe’s dynamics since five of us were crammed in there and we pretty much rode on the bumpstops the entire trip, but I was able to learn a few things:
The Genesis coupe is indeed a different car from the Tiburon it replaces. Some media members speculated that we were simply riding in a Tiburon with the seats turned around. One particularly critical, hard-driving journalist crawled under the car to verify that it did, in fact, have a drive shaft connecting the front-mounted engine and transmission to the rear wheels. It turns out John Krafcik, Hyundai’s vice president of product development and strategic planning, brought the real deal for us to ogle.
With a rumored 310-horsepower V-6, this coupe should be pretty hot. Still, it lost a little of the purported zippiness when we clearly overloaded the car. That just gave us ample opportunities to listen to the exhaust note. Krafcik told us the exhaust isn’t fully tuned yet, but we all agreed it sounded pretty good. When properly (read: legally) loaded, I expect the experience to improve dramatically.
The design of the Genesis coupe turns lots of heads. Or at least the sight of five people squeezed into a Genesis coupe cruising through Santa Barbara does. I was stuck (literally) in the back seat and the headroom was severely lacking for someone more than six-feet tall. There was an amazing amount of leg room though. I think anyone up to 5’9″ would fit comfortably back there with a reasonably sized driver or passenger in front. Or maybe I have a freakishly long torso. The Genesis coupe certainly has better leg room than something like a Nissan GT-R or Ford Mustang.
The Genesis coupe may not be out until the 2010 model year, but if it packs the same bang-for-your-buck as the Genesis sedan it will be worth the wait.