LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai revealed its Genesis Coupe concept at the Los Angeles auto show on Wednesday, but development work on the rear-wheel-drive two-door and its flagship sedan sibling are well on the way to production.
The production coupe debuts next spring at the New York show and will arrive in dealerships in spring 2009 as a 2010 model. The production sedan bows at the Detroit show in January and goes on sale in mid-2008 as an '09.
In an interview at the Los Angeles show, Hyundai product planning chief John Krafcik cleared up a number of details surrounding the Korean automaker's future top-end models:
- The coupe will not get the 4.6-liter 350-hp V8 slated for the sedan. The primary coupe engine is a 3.8-liter, 300-hp-plus, 250-lb-ft V6. Krafcik confirmed that the coupe will also come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four producing in excess of 200 hp--giving Hyundai the only four-cylinder rear-wheel-drive coupe in the market. The company already has its sights set on the drift market, a group still enamored with the dynamics of the four-cylinder, rear-drive Nissan 240SX last built in the 1990s. The four-cylinder coupe, equipped with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, should start in the low $20,000 range.
- Though the V6-powered Mustang is an obvious competitor, Krafcik notes the Genesis (which will likely gain a new name before production) is smaller and lighter than the Ford pony car. Because of the car's wide range of optional equipment and potential buyers, Hyundai sees it drawing interest from shoppers of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Scion tC, Honda Civic Si, Volkswagen GTI and Mazda RX-8.
- Contrary to raging Internet rumors, the Genesis is not a replacement for the front-drive Tiburon. For clues to that model's future, Hyundai says to take a close look at the Veloster Coupe concept.
- When the Genesis sedan goes on sale, fitted with a 270-hp version of the 3.8-liter V6, it will take the place of the company former flagship Azera sedan at the top of the Hyundai product line up. Azera, formerly significant as Hyundai's first vehicle to crack the $30,000 mark, will be deliberately skewed in product mix to more models in the mid-$20,000 range. As such, Azera becomes a more dead-on competitor for V6 Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
- The 20-inch wheels and tires on the Genesis Coupe concept won't make production, but performance summer-only tires and 19-inch wheels will be offered as an option; 18 inchers will be standard. In addition, the car will feature independent rear suspension and MacPherson front struts, Brembo disc brakes at all four corners, and a limited-slip differential.
- Estimated 0-60 mph time for the V6 coupe: less than 6 seconds.
So what else does Hyundai have planned for its all-new range-topping model line? All-wheel-drive for the sedan is possible, though not likely, says Krafcik, because so few buyers actually opt for the system. On the other hand, Krafcik would love to be able to make a case for a low-cost cloth convertible. Rear-drive ragtop, anyone?