High-performance, inexpensive rear-wheel drive coupes are uncommon sights, but Hyundai has just added one to the short list with its new 2010 Genesis Coupe R-Spec. Starting at $23,750 and offering a minimal range of features--the better for later customization--the R-Spec promises to be just what the aftermarket tuner wants.

Basic equipment of the R-Spec includes the 2.0T 2.0-liter turbocharged engine rated at 210 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission (no automatic option), 19 inch alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires, and Brembo brakes--13.4 inches up front, 13.0 inches in theback. A 'track-tuned' suspension and Torsen-type limited-slip differential offer improved handling over the standard Coupe, while R-Spec badging lets onlookers know what's under all the aftermarket gear.

Other standard elements--not so common on a stripped-down track day car, but handy for a daily driver--include keyless entry, front, side and side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power windows and door locks, an MP3-capable six-speaker stereo system with iPod/USB conncetivity and projector beam headlamps.

The basic package offers as much performance as the Track model, but at a $3,000 discount, freeing up some cash for whatever the buyer might like to add--perhaps a larger turbo, intercooler and associated electronics, or maybe a serious audio/video system and a unique paintjob. Whatever the mods, the R-Spec goes the extra mile to draw in the tuner market. Only sales will show how successful Hyundai has been.

The new 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec will make its official U.S. debut at next week’s 2009 SEMA Auto Show in Last Vegas before going on sale nationwide soon after.

[Hyundai]