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Web Review: Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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On: Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 12:42PM | By: John Welch

Web Review: Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Let's get the obvious out of the way; the Hyundai Genesis Coupe isn't going to win any beauty pageants any time soon. From all but the rear three-quarter view, this car is homely. The front end is reminiscent of a sad puppy, all droopy eyed and lethargic. The profile lends itself to odd angles and geometrically challenged shapes. The tail end is pleasing enough, if not generic. The rims are slovenly designed hunks of aluminum featuring fat spokes that are anything but sporty. The interior, an ill-fitting hodgepodge of plastics and fake metals, is an execution dotted with varying degrees of success.

So, that is what I don't like about the Genesis Coupe. Probably the last time I'll mention anything I don't like about it. The benefits of purchasing a Genesis Coupe far outweigh the styling issues; it doesn't even compare to a new Camaro styling-wise, but dynamically it is far superior.

With this in mind we venture over to the Hyundai website to see if optioning a Gen-Coupe is as pleasing an experience as slinging one around a skid pad has the potential to be . . .

In the Hyundai Genesis Coupe we find something I've been dying to see in a rear drive coupe: a turbocharged four cylinder. Yeah, yeah, Hyundai likes to hype the V6 lump, available in the more premium models, mostly because they think we goofball 'Murrhikens care only about size and bragging rights. Ahh, yes, that may have been the case, before the Fast and the Furious.

Not that I particularly enjoy the way Americans are portrayed in that movie, as a bunch of beer swilling, English language murdering thugabillies, breakin' laws and taking names. No, what I like about TFATF is the enlightenment it bestowed on 'Murrhiken teenagers, possibly on accident. I've been watching sports car racing since I was teething, but I am the exception. The Fast and The Furious made it ok to delete weight before adding power, work on suspension settings before worrying about melting tires. Made it ok for modern woman to drive a stick. Made it ok to put a Japanese engine into a '64 Mustang just for the eff of it. This, my friends, despite all the bad acting and Ebonics, is progress we can thank the Fast and the Furious for.

Now we fat-head 'Murrhikens have evolved beyond what our European and Asian friends give us credit for. Here in digital fantasy-land, I am going to option and purchase a new Genesis Coupe, and I am NOT going to get the V6. With the turbo four, the car will weigh less, have a more neutral center of gravity, and be one ECU reflash set of injectors and custom exhaust away from the 306 bhp made by the V6. Oh, and starting at a cool 22 grand, the four is much cheaper. A direct quote from Hyundai's digital brochure: "If you prefer the torque delivery and tunability of a turbo motor, the Genesis is available with a 210 bph 2.0L inline four." See??! Not only do they expect us to fiddle with it, it's almost as if they want us to. Probably some ploy to get out of honoring a large quantity of warranties, but this statement leads you to believe Hyundai has built and tuned this motor to accept homemade horsepower. Why can't more car companies be like this? My opinion of Hyundai has gone up a thousand percent in the last five minutes . . .

Now, what about this site we are reviewing here. First off, it's slick. Very slick. Slick like a beach volleyball player's greasy ass. Slick like a hockey rink in Florida. Slick like. .. well, you get the idea. Hyundai put some effort (or tons of cash) into this site. You are greeted with a loading screen previewing all of the GenCoupe's many praiseworthy features, followed by the Coupe itself bounding on to the screen. Rhys Millen was the driver for these stunts, and as usual he makes a rear drive car do things physics never intended.

You can access a gallery, of sorts, that outlines the Genesis's many technological breakthroughs. Not sure what a Torsen diff is? Hyundai explains it. A strut tower brace? Hyundai explains that too, along with pointing out that said strut tower brace comes standard, on all Genesis models. Wow, screw climate control, that's a standard feature I can get excited about!

Let's move on to building our car. At first glance the actual car configurator is less than impressive. A strange interface with certain buttons highlighted and certain other buttons faded with no apparent reasoning behind it. Sort of confusing; the viewer not able to determine what he or she should click on first. Being an assertive sort of fellow, I just dive right in, clicking on the model I want, the Four-cylinder Track Edition. At $26,750 it isn't cheap, but it does come with standard features not found on cars costing two or three times more than that price. These include the strut bar, Torsen diff, fancy wheels, leather interior (though there is only one color choice, Coffin Black), leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, steering wheel audio controls, Brembo braking system, and many, many more. Frankly, the list of standard equipment for this model is mind boggling.

Exterior paint choices are few; I go with Nordschleife Gray, mostly because it's named after the Nurburing. All of the color options are named after famous racing circuits; good thing they left out 'Darlington Turd Brown'. My interior gets a special red and black treatment, available only on the four-pot Track Edition. Makes a boy feel special! A six-speed manual is the only available transmission for this model (!!!!!! Hyundai, will you marry me?!) and there are zero 'option packages' to chose from. So what? The car comes loaded already. These standard features do add up to a very boring configurator experience, however; I wouldn't plan on killing too much time at work with this site.

One more click and my Genesis is ready to roll; well, fantasy-land 'roll' anyway. Overall the experience dealing with this site has been an enjoyable one. Most of the 'Flash' is silky smooth, and Hyundai does a great job of informing potential customers exactly what they're getting into. Frankly, on paper, the Genesis Coupe seems like a much more performance-oriented vehicle than its American competitors, Mustang and Camaro included. And it's cheaper, offers a litany of standard features, comes with a stellar warrenty, and may have been built with backyard tuning in mind. Too bad it's so double brown-bag ugly, I'd probably take out a second mortgage in the name of Korean-supplied, tail-out mischief. . .

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