Hyundai shows gorgeous HND-9 concept in Seoul

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Hyundai isn't quite ready to revamp its Genesis Coupe having just given it a thorough mid-cycle update for the 2012 model year, but when the South Korean automaker eventually puts it to pasture something like the HND-9 Sports Coupe Concept would be an ideal replacement.

"HND-9 will give customers a glimpse of Hyundai's future luxury sports coupe models," said Suk-Geun Oh, head of Hyundai Design Center, ahead of the car showing up at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show last week. "Representing an evolution of Hyundai's 'Fluidic Sculpture' design philosophy, the rear-wheel drive sports coupe concept balances high performance with a sophisticated image."

It's difficult not to think of the HND-9 Sports Coupe Concept as the next-generation Genesis Coupe because the general layout of both cars is much the same. Both are front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 sport coupes with rear liftbacks, and both are sized similarly, although the new HND-9 grows by 65 mm from front to back with a 40-mm increase in wheelbase. Likewise the HND-9's width expands by 25 mm, although its highest point is a significant 45 mm lower, this last point more likely the result of its concept status rather than anything that could be made saleable to average sized adults.

Like the top-line Genesis Coupe the HND-9 even packs a V6 under its long, lean hood, this one 3.3 litres in displacement, turbocharged, direct injected and good for 364-horsepower, while an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission with manual-mode and paddle-shifters puts power down to the road.

Even if Hyundai chose to go with the basic HND-9 Sports Coupe Concept's design for its next-gen production coupe the show car exotica butterfly doors would likely be replaced by conventional front-hinged doors, and its gorgeous carbon-enhanced 22-inch wheels would probably be replaced by a slightly smaller diameter set even in top-tier trim. The rest of the design is an expansion on Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture theme, and it's as dramatically stimulating as anything from any of the premium automakers. It could easily wear an Infiniti or Lexus badge and command a much higher price than what Hyundai would most likely charge for a production example, which follows the business model the brand currently lives by with its Genesis and Equus luxury sedans. The current Genesis Coupe never pulled off premium luxury quite as well as it has premium performance, but something like this HND-9 Sports Coupe Concept could do just that, vaulting its sport coupe model into the near-premium segment in the same fashion as its top-level sedans.

Of course, in order to do that the HND-9 would need to elevate the luxury quotient inside as well, and to that end Hyundai's designers have created a cabin that both delivers the requisite sporty ambiance along with premium materials and execution that buyers in higher end segments expect. The cockpit is sectioned off via a centre divider, giving the driver a purposeful "monoposto" single-seat racecar experience, not dissimilar to how Audi delivers a driver-centric cockpit within its R8 supercar. Brushed metals accent key trim, leathers abound and state-of-the-art full-colour high-resolution displays are positioned in the usual spots, while the seats are covered in a special mesh fabric that changes colours when viewed from different angles, yet as intriguing as this interior might be it would most likely make way for something more conventional if produced.

Whether or not Hyundai is giving us a sneak peak at a future production 2+2 to replace the current Genesis Coupe is anyone's guess, but one thing's for sure, the ever-evolving brand is giving us a glimpse of future design elements that will certainly influence upcoming models.

The HND-9 Sports Coupe Concept, penned at the Hyundai Motor Group's R&D Center in Namyang, Korea, made its world debut at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show last week. It will continue to be displayed at the show until April 7, and hopefully will be on stage at upcoming auto shows worldwide in the near future so more fans of the innovative brand can take a closer look.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Hyundai, 2013, HND-9 Concept,

Organizations: Hyundai

Geographic location: Seoul

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