A product line is mature when it has a item and a price point in every niche in its market. By that standard (and any other) Hyundai is a complete carmaker, with 10 model lines in uncountable different styles and trim levels, which cost anywhere from less than $13,000 to more than $66,000.
There are econocars and mid-level family sedans, an SUV or three, and a flagship capitalist gunboat. Hyundai even has a sports car. Not a sporty car or a sporting car, but a real sports car: A pavement-shredding, two-door, rear-wheel-drive speed sled with a close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox and a beefy clutch, a limited-slip differential, 19-inch alloys and performance tires, red Brembo brakes from Italy, and a sophisticated front-strut and multilink-rear suspension with gas shock absorbers.
There’s even a torque meter on the console. Both versions, the one with the turbo four good for 274 horsepower and the one with the 348HP V-6, can howl maniacally around a racetrack. On the street, either one can make a ticket-writing cop’s day.
But the Genesis Coupe has back seats, if only for anorexic amputees, and a fixed roof. (Where is it written that a sports car must be a droptop roadster?) it’s got a respectable trunk, and the back seats fold down.
Plus leather, a six-speaker stereo, automatic Xenon headlights and heating/cooling, heated seats and wing mirrors, satnav and a touchscreen.
It speaks Bluetooth, iPod and Sirius. It has all the safety goodies, and a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. We can even order an automatic transmission, a trick 8-speed, dual-mode, torque-converter unit with shift paddles behind the steering wheel. This, more than anything else, is what makes the H-Coupe the mature and modern sports car that rounds out Hyundai’s portfolio.
Leave the office after a soul-searing week of personnel and budget crises and the 8-speed Coupe will get you home virtually on auto-pilot, with only a faint exhaust burble behind the soothing harmonies of Celtic Woman.
Get up the next morning, rested and caffeinated, click the autobox into Sport and head for the hills. Now meet H-Coupe’s alter ego, the hard-core sportster. He’s muscular, he’s edgy, and he roars! Pretty soon the landscape’s a blur, your hair’s on fire and you’re bracing yourself on the large left-foot dead-pedal.
The police are setting up roadblocks after complaints from the aggrieved citizenry in your wake. It’s that good.
The steering is quick, well-weighted and accurate, the brakes are progressively powerful, body lean is minimal, the chassis is super stiff, and the car behaves like a switched-on tango partner.
Dig deep, and the power is instantly accessible through the automatic transmission, which clicks up and down through the gears via the paddles almost as quickly as a direct-shift, clutchless manual.
Ease off, throttle back, and you’ll find that the autobox can get you 30 or more highway miles per gallon, too. Maturity again.
Back in 2009, the Hyundai Genesis was named the North American Car of the Year. Fortunately, the Genesis Coupe didn’t exist at the time or it might have confused the jury. Heavens, which one to pick? A better question might be, how are these two cars related? At $45,000, the four-door Genesis resembles a certain German sedan that costs twice as much.
The small Coupe doesn’t look a bit like it. No matter; as good as the first Coupe was, this 2013 model is notably better—much more powerful and with this automatic transmission on the options sheet. All at prices that start at about one-third less than the man on the street’s average guesstimate, namely around $26,000. I do wish the air vents on the hood were functional, though.