Monday, August 04, 2008

Hyundai Invites Aftermarket Tuners To Measure 2010 Genesis Coupe

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, California - Hyundai took a major step toward reinventing itself as a legitimate performance-car manufacturer by inviting 20 aftermarket companies to measure the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe today at its North American headquarters in Fountain Valley, California.

Hyundai Motor America officials called this the official SEMA measuring session for the company's rear-drive coupe, which is based on the shortened version of the 2009 Hyundai Genesis Sedan platform.

"Normally, we've done this closer to the start of production," Wayne Killen, director of strategic product planning for Hyundai Motor America, told us. "But we really wanted the aftermarket companies to get a start on it."

The aftermarket companies ran the gamut, ranging from Wet Okole Hawaii, which makes waterproof seat covers, to Garrett-Honeywell and HKS.

You'll recall from the 2008 New York Auto Show that Hyundai will be offering both a 310-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 and a 223-hp, 2.0-liter, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder in the 2010 Genesis Coupe. Not surprisingly, the 2.0-liter turbo got most of the attention from the tuners, and since the engine itself is a direct relation of the 2.0-liter in the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Evolution X, most weren't seeing it for the first time.

"I'm more excited about this than I am about that one," said John Espino of Gale Banks Engineering, while standing next to the turbo coupe. "If you look under the hood, there's more room to do stuff." However, he noted that his company is working on a supercharger for the V6 Genesis coupe, in addition to planned upgrades for the turbocharger and intercooler on the four-cylinder model.

"There's an engine mount underneath the turbocharger so that kind of limits how big you can go," Garrett's Brian Regnier told us. "But there's always a way around that." He said the main contingency for Garrett in developing turbo upgrades for the Genesis coupe is public reaction to Hyundai's first rear-wheel-drive coupe. "We'll wait to see what the reception for this vehicle is at track days," he noted.

Hyundai officials also confirmed today that the company will offer Track versions of both the four-cylinder turbo and the V6 coupe. "They'll be a low percentage of the mix," Joyce admitted, "but they will be uncompromised in their performance."

In addition to retuned suspension compared to the standard versions of the coupe, the Genesis Track models will pick up a front strut tower brace and a full set of Brembo brakes, including four-piston monobloc calipers up front.

Regardless of the engine underhood, Track models will come with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A summer tires, sized 225/40R19 up front and 245/40R19 in back. Non-Track Genesis coupes get 225/45R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE092As in front and 245/45s in back.

Hyundai also revealed some basic stats on the likely customer base today. The four-cylinder turbo coupe is predicted to draw an even mix of men and women, while the company anticipates an older, more affluent and 70 percent male crowd to embrace the V6 coupe. The highest-volume exterior color is expected to be Gray Titanium at 18 percent.

Known internally as "BK," the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe will go into production in December 2008 at Hyundai's Alsan, Korea, plant. Look for the cars to arrive at dealerships in early February 2009.

What this means to you: Hyundai hopes the 2010 Genesis Coupe will pick up where the Nissan 240SX left off, and is doing everything it can to ensure full aftermarket support when the coupe goes on sale. -- Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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