After Hyundai's press conference wrapped up Tuesday, we took the opportunity to grill a couple of Hyundai's design and engineering heads about some of the details surrounding the Genesis Coupe Concept and its production counterpart. While its already been revealed that the new coupe won't be coming with a V8, nor will Hyundai nix the front-wheel-drive Tiburon in favor of a strictly RWD sports car lineup, there are still plenty of questions that needed answering. Hit the jump to get the scoop on what to expect for Hyundai's most exciting new product ever.
Compared to spy shots of the production coupe that were unearthed earlier this month (above), the concept is a dead ringer for what we'll supposedly see in New York next year. The tapering rear window aft of the B-pillar looks ready for prime time, as does the overall shape of the greenhouse and the dual beltlines flowing from the front fenders and defining the rear haunches. Stylistically, we think it's a hit and can only get better with what Hyundai has in store after the production version goes on sale in late 2008.
Beyond the exterior styling, we're more interested in how this new coupe will compete in the performance arena. It's been confirmed that two engines will be available: a 3.8-liter V6 producing 300 HP and "around" 260 lb.-ft. of torque (250 lb.-ft. is quoted in the press release, but we heard more) and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four. While the Hyundai execs we talked to remained mum on the specific output of both mills, we're assured that the turbo'd four will be producing over 200 HP and a similar amount of torque, likely in the 210-220 lb.-ft. neighborhood. When we asked about the overall weight and how it would be distributed, it was made clear that keeping the pounds down and trying to achieve a 50/50 weight balance was of particular importance. Naturally, the engine's placement underneath the hood will dictate how much weight will be sitting atop the nose, but with a bonnet that long, we'd suspect that both mills could be placed pretty far into the engine bay – hopefully behind the strut towers. Continuously variable valve timing will be part of the dual overhead cam package, and power will be sent to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic 'box controllable via steering wheel-mounted paddles. Since the turbocharged inline four will have the added advantages of weighing less and the required exhaust plumbing in place for the turbo, we think that the base model might be the darling of the aftermarket; it certainly won't be left out in the cold like other entry-level offerings.
On the handling end of things, the wheelbase wasn't as long as we'd originally suspected, coming in at 2,820 mm (111 inches), or 115 mm (4.5 inches) less than the Genesis sedan on which its derived. For comparison, what some are calling the Hyundai coupe's closest competitor, the Ford Mustang, has a 2,720 mm wheelbase (107.1 inches). This is going to pay dividends in the driving department, as will the five-link rear suspension and front MacPherson setup. We mentioned earlier that the E46 BMW M3 was the benchmark for bending rigidity, and according to Hyundai's engineers, they've achieved that goal.
The real question remains at what price point the new Hyundai coupe will compete. Although the original leaked information said that the turbo'd four-pot will come in at $19,900, we have our doubts that Hyundai can keep it under the magical $20k ceiling. The V6-equipped model should land somewhere in the mid-$20,000s -- we'd suspect somewhere between $24,000 to $26,000. Regardless, anything with RWD and the choice of a stout V6 or a turbocharged four has our vote. Let's just hope it has the handling credentials to redefine a segment that has long been neglected by some of the stalwarts of the industry.