Hyundai's N division gets all the credit now, but the firm's history with performance cars goes back much further
By Cam Tait / Thursday, 22 December 2022 / Loading comments
The Hyundai of today is a far cry from the company that rocked up to the UK in 1982. I should know. My first car was a 2002 Hyundai Accent (1.3, 86hp) and it was dreadful. A bargain at £600, and it had only covered 12,000 miles when I bought it back in 2010, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that a rudderless boat caught in a storm would have been easier to manoeuvre.
Several years later, I’d find myself at the wheel of a 2006 Sonata as part of a stag do and it too was awful. Though I’ve yet to work through the rest of Hyundai’s noughties’ lineup, it’s unlikely the Getz or Elantra were much better. The only exception one might argue a case for is the Hyundai Coupe. Again, hardly a bastion of performance or handling, but it was surprisingly good-looking in second-generation guise and you could nab one with a 2.7-litre V6. It was by far the most interesting production car to come from the company up to that point, making it all the more frustrating that the Coupe’s spiritual successor, the Genesis Coupe, never officially came to the UK.
While many turning points could be claimed for the brand , the Genesis Coupe easily ranks among them. Not only did it launch the firm’s ‘premium’ sub-brand Genesis, along with a snazzy V6 saloon, of which one recently popped up in the classifieds, but it was also the first sign that the company wanted to branch out and create performance cars. Importantly, it didn’t look out of place next to the sports cars of the era. The low nose, outstretched bonnet and sloping roofline had all the hallmarks of a purpose-built coupe, and the interior had enough leather and tech to pass as premium. Just about.
Crucially, the Genesis Coupe drove like a performance car, too. Unlike the front-wheel-drive Coupe, the Genesis came in rear-wheel drive format and could be had with a six-speed manual gearbox. Interested? It gets better. While entry-level cars came bundled with a boring inline-four, top-spec models packed a throaty 3.8-litre V6. When the Genesis Coupe originally launched in 2008, the V6 mustered a decent-ish 303hp, but facelifted models raised that to a more impressive 353hp. Zero to 62mph could be dispatched in 6.1 seconds with the manual, cementing the Genesis Coupe as a bonafide sports car.
Sadly, we never got the chance to take one out for a spin. Those that did praised it for its front-end grip, torquey engine and composure on a twisty road. That just goes to show what a significant car the Genesis Coupe was, because you’d never use those words to describe anything Hyundai had produced before it. And makes it all the more unfortunate that the firm sold it pretty much everywhere but here.
Thankfully, someone’s gone through the complicated – and expensive – process of importing one to the UK. This 2014 V6 is a facelifted car, meaning you get the punchier engine and newer front end, plus it also comes with the more desirable manual gearbox. These were incredibly cheap to buy new and are even more of a bargain as a used buy, with the seller wanting just £11,995 for this 27,000-mile example. For reference, a 370Z of similar mileage will set you back nearly double that. And what’s going to turn more heads at a Sunday Service? A car sold in the UK, or an ultra-rare V6 import? I’ll take the latter.
SPECIFICATION | HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE
Engine: 3,778 V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],400rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],300rpm
Year registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 27,000
Price new: c.£22,000 ($27,000 US)
Yours for: £11,995
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