Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – The animal kingdom inspired designers of the ’10 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, which debuts in a wild way at the New York International Auto Show.

“The design was influenced by predatory animals,” says chief designer Joel Piaskowski.

He points to headlights that resemble eagle eyes and body sheet metal fabricated above the rear wheels to look like “the muscular haunches of a cougar, ready to strike.

“It’s our most emotional design ever,” Piaskowski says.

Hyundai Motor America Inc.’s auto show introduction inside the Javits Center is flashy, with a pair of professional female race-car drivers steering two bright-red Genesis Coupes onto an expansive surface protected by barricades, then doing controlled spinouts and other fast-paced crowd-pleasing driving stunts while a rock band performs The Kinks’ classic, “You Really Got Me.”

The Genesis sedan debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. South Korean auto maker Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. says its first foray into the luxury segment has the features of a $60,000 car but at about half the price.

Hyundai is pitching price for the rear-wheel-drive coupe, too, although it has yet to announce what it will cost when the vehicle goes on sale early next year.

It is billed as a new benchmark for attainable 300 hp in a reasonably priced sports car.

“It is the most affordable 300-hp sports coupe on the planet,” proclaims John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president-product planning.

He says there are two engines “for different tastes” and of varying power output.

The entry-level turbocharged 2L 4-cyl. will generate an estimated 212 hp.

The more powerful all-aluminum 3.8L V-6 can reach an estimated 306 hp on premium fuel, Krafcik says.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com