The first Genesis Coupe has landed in the driveway of Eager American Buyer Number One before Hyundai has even finished launching the car for the press, which is a slight reversal of things. In other words, the Korean automaker is actually ahead of schedule in launching its latest product. How refreshing.
Lucky for us, we managed to spend a few days in a Lime Rock Green Genesis Coupe before the press preview, and in that time we got some good first impressions of the car both on the street and at the track, in the rain and under the sun, on four wheels and two (just kidding, Hyundai).
We did our time in a 3.8-liter V6 with the track package. The car strikes a beautiful mix of pep and power from stoplight to stoplight, which is to say it will jump off the line but isn't frenetic while doing it. The shifter itself is oddly shaped, but the quality of the shifting is very good. The seats – except for the headrests – are supportive, comfy and pretty. The controls are also nicely placed and the stereo is a blast, but you'll need a minute to figure out all the buttons to operate it.
While on the track at Willow Springs, we were able to unchain the frenetic little devil that the Genesis Coupe keeps leashed around town. The steering wheel is the perfect size and provides plenty of feedback. The exhaust note, less than inspiring when you're nice to the car, finds its bellow when you stomp on the gas and let the revs climb. The brakes will keep up the good work for lap after lap after lap. The handling will even make a few other cars take note -– there's no "in it's price bracket" caveat here – and its rear-wheel-drive reflexes are nicely tuned. It is easy to get quick in the Genesis Coupe, and once there, it's pretty easy to stay quick.
Of course, there were a few details we wondered about: the headrests are canted so far forward, like they were designed for people with either long necks or little heads (NOTE: Hyundai has confirmed that the headrests do adjust for comfort, but you have to crank them all the way forward before they can go back) the car needs a rear window wiper in the worst way – trying to see out the back in the rain is to understand glaucoma; and long journeys on L.A. freeways was a less than thrilling experience – you'll be glad to have that stereo. Nevertheless, it is a fine proposition, and if Hyundai can give the four-cylinder the same balanced handling, then that's a car that will make us all tingly.
Stay tuned for our full report on the Genesis Coupe in a couple of weeks to find out.