Hyundai unveiled its long-awaited rear-wheel-drive coupe at the LA show yesterday. It threw a surprise into the mix by painting the show car that previews it bright orange, but also by admitting that it will be joined by a smaller, front-drive coupe, heavily based on the Veloster concept seen at the Frankfurt show earlier this year. According to chief designer of Hyundai North America Joel Piaskowski, the Genesis coupe is a “proper sports car,” a match for the BMW 3-series coupe and the most dramatic-looking car ever to wear a Hyundai badge.
Upmarket, rear-driven, over 300bhp...
Although it’s billed as a concept, insiders admit that this car is almost identical to the final production version of the 2+2 coupe which will be on display at the New York auto show next April, and go on sale a year later in Spring 2009.The concept car is mechanically identical to the production car too. It will use the same newly developed rear-wheel-drive architecture as the forthcoming Genesis saloon.Unlike the V8-powered saloon however, the coupe will be available with either a 300bhp-plus 3.8-litre V6 engine or a four cylinder turbo with around 200bhp. Both will have a limited slip differential, and the promise of driver satisfaction that far exceeds any current Hyundai.
... and over here?
The big question is whether the rear-drive coupe will be going on sale in Britain. Hyundai engineers admit that there are no technical reasons why it can’t go on sale in Europe and be converted to right hand drive. And UK sources say that they are pushing hard to make a business case for it – even though the Genesis saloon is unlikely to cross the Atlantic.However we are almost certain to get the smaller, Veloster-based front driver, which will be far cheaper and easier for HMUK to market as a successor to the current Coupe. That’s also due to appear in 2009.