Special Coverage

Chicago Auto Show

Hyundai Motor America says an R-Spec version of its new ’10 Genesis coupe will be available midyear as an addition to the Genesis lineup.

The R-Spec variant is “designed to appeal to true enthusiasts who want a low starting price and the ability to tune their car to their own specifications,” HMA says in a statement.

The auto maker announces the R-Spec Genesis coupe today at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show.

Hyundai is basing the performance variant on its most affordable Genesis coupe with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. engine.

Mated to a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, the R-Spec’s 210-hp engine can propel the Genesis coupe to a top speed of 137 mph (220 km/h), Hyundai says.

In addition to the mill, add-ons to the base 2.0T Genesis include a track-tuned suspension, 19-in. gunmetal-finish alloy wheels with summer tires, Brembo brakes with red front and rear calipers and a Torsen limited-slip differential.

Also featured on the R-Spec Genesis coupe is electronic stability control, six airbags, active front head restraints, tire-pressure monitoring system and quick-ratio hydraulic steering, with 2.7 turns lock-to-lock, Hyundai says.

The auto maker says it has removed several convenience features from the base 2.0T Genesis coupe, such as Bluetooth hands-free calling, cruise control, trip computer and steering wheel-mounted audio controls, to reduce the cost and weight of the R-Spec variant.

But not all creature comforts have been eliminated, as the model boasts remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 6-speaker stereo with an iPod auxiliary jack and one-touch-up-down power windows.

The vehicle will start at $23,750, which Hyundai says is $3,000 less than a Genesis 2.0T with the Track package, and is available in three paint colors: Karussell White, Bathurst Black and Tsukuba Red.

Also at the Chicago show, Hyundai announces pricing for the ’10 Genesis coupe will begin at $22,000 for a 2.0T model with 6-speed manual. The car tops out at $31,000 for a Track model with a 3.8L Lambda V-6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and standard leather interior surfaces.

Destination and handling fees add $750 to prices across the board.

Meanwhile, Hyundai says it will enter the new Genesis coupe in a drift-racing series, partnering with Rhys Millen Racing and Red Bull Energy Drink.

Race-car driver Rhys Millen, who drove a Genesis coupe in its TV commercial, “will fabricate and race a 550-hp Genesis Coupe in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Formula Drift Professional Drifting Championship and at select Redline Time Attack series events in 2009,” HMA says.

To create the drift cars, Millen will bore out Hyundai’s 3.8L V-6 to 4.1L and add a Turbonetics turbocharger and an engine-management system from Advanced Engine Management Inc., upping horsepower to 550 and torque to 520 lb.-ft. (705 Nm), from 306 hp and 263 lb.-ft. (357 Nm) in the non-racing V-6 Genesis coupe.

The ’10 Genesis coupe arrives at U.S. Hyundai dealers later this month.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com