First Drive: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

An even bigger issue for the 2.0T is that the 3.8 costs only $3000 more. Tuners like to tinker but they love speed, and even with three grand in modifications, the four-cylinder likely won't come close to the V-6's output - and it'll never match its sound and power delivery. Despite coming from less enthusiast-focused cars (can you say Kia Borrego?), the V-6 works surprisingly well in a sporty application. It's an overachiever of an engine, pulling like mad all the way to redline and filling the cabin with a ferocious intake honk, a sonorous exhaust wail, and just enough coarseness to say "sporty" without ever saying "thrashy."

Infiniti's 3.7-liter could take a singing lesson from it, in fact. The meaty clutch in the Genesis has a positive engagement point near the top of its travel, and the high-mounted shifter, although notchy when cold, is a pleasure to row through the gears. Pleasantly devoid of the torque steer that plagues all powerful front-wheel-drive cars, the Genesis's steering is quick, well-weighted, and accurate - but a bit lighter on feedback than we'd hoped.

The Genesis coupe will be sold in several trim levels - base, Premium, Track, and R-Spec for the 2.0T, and base, Grand Touring, or Track for the 3.8 only. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with either engine; alternatively, base and Premium 2.0T coupes can be mated to a five-speed automatic. All V-6 models are available with the same ZF six-speed automatic found in the Genesis sedan, but inexplicably, in this application, it doesn't match engine revs on downshifts and has no true manual mode.

Track models are the top-specification coupes and come standard with a full complement of electronics (minus a navigation system, which will become available later this year). Behind the nineteen-inch wheels (lesser models come with eighteens) are red-painted, four-piston Brembo calipers front and rear. The package also includes a Torsen limited-slip differential, stiffer springs, retuned dampers, and bigger antiroll bars.

Although the Genesis's pedals are spaced a little too far apart for easy heel-and-toeing, the Brembos give fantastic brake feel, and when we took the Genesis for hot laps around a racetrack, they refused to fade. The Track model's suspension, which adds an ever-so-slight amount of chop to the coupe's otherwise supple ride, helps the Genesis turn in more crisply and reduces understeer. Unfortunately, even the Track chassis plows resolutely, a situation not helped by the staggered wheels and tires. On smooth pavement, neither abrupt turn-in nor trailing throttle will coax the coupe's tail out, although midcorner bumps will throw the car sideways - an unfortunate trait also exhibited by the Genesis sedan with which the coupe shares its five-link rear suspension.

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