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The Hyundai Genesis coupe - the car that brought back RWD in a dark time

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The Hyundai Genesis coupe - the car that brought back RWD in a dark time

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about the advantages and disadvantages of rear-wheel drive as opposed to front-wheel drive vehicles – with more movement away from the traditions of rear-wheel drive and a harder focus on the front-wheel drive optimization process – in many ways, it seemed as though it was the closing on an era that saw the RWD vehicles declining to nearly inconsequential numbers – but then the Hyundai Genesis Coupe had something else to say about the situation.

Why is it such an important step towards a RWD renaissance? Simple – the Genesis Coupe is the first rear-wheel drive sports coupe that Hyundai has ever produced and shares the same platform as the renowned luxury sedan model.

2008 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Arriving in Korea on October 13, 2008 – the Genesis Coupe was quick to remind drivers why RWD still mattered to sporty cars with a knack for impressing passersby and drivers alike. Originally equipped with the 2.0-litre Turbo Theta I-4 engine, the Genesis Coupe was prepared to get you moving with an impressive 210 horsepower or, if you so desired, could be elected with models equipped with the 3.8-litre Lambda V6 engine that provided a startling 306 horsepower.

Thanks to its position as a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the Genesis Coupe was showcased at the 2008 New York International Auto Show performing incredible powerslides and burnouts without delay or hesitation – a fact that has simply been removed since the overall change to the FWD preference. Upon launch there were 8 models to choose from, with everything from a base turbo model through to the premium-inspired 3.8 Track (marketed as the GT in Canada).

Specs included stability control, 19-inch wheels, ABS, Brembo brakes, Torsen Limited slip differential, a stiffer suspension matched by electronic brake force distribution as well as summer-only Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires.

Hyundai Genesis Coupe interior

The expected though somewhat unprecedented sales figures for the first generation Genesis Coupe have since seen updates on year-to-year and second generation formats – which launched in 2011 in Korea and followed the following year worldwide. Revisions included a more stylized bumper, and an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters or 6-speed manual transmission. Again, offered in 8 models, this Genesis Coupe came with more power from the 2.0-litre Turbo Theta I-4 engine reaching from the 210 on the previous generation to 274 on the second generation. Likewise, the Lambda engine was improved from 306 to 348 horsepower.

Dimensions stayed largely the same as well as the commitment to rear-wheel drive power and driving controls. At a top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph) on the new Theta engine and a 0-100 km/h speed of just 7.2 seconds, you can understand why people have come to appreciate the Genesis Coupe – similarly, the more powerful V6 on the latest model offers a 5.9 second 0-100 km/h and a top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph).

All this is to say that there is a reason why high-velocity cars have rear-wheel drive and rather than move away from the opportunities presented by front-wheel drive options, Hyundai has remained committed to offering drivers an exceptional driving experience that is reminiscent of the sports cars that inspired it.

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