Sunday, August 23, 2009

Be Our Guest

Earlier in the month I received this invitation in the mail:
BECAUSE YOU LOVE PERFORMANCE. You've been selected from an exclusive group of drivers to put the all-new Hyundai Genesis Coupe through its paces.
I thought it was funny because I'm anything but a car enthusiast; I have no idea where they got my name. I drive a Honda CR-V that's from the early part of this decade. It gets me where I need to go with relatively good gas mileage, which is all I expect a car to do. But the invitation promised I would be able to turn the coupe loose on a custom-designed closed course and get a gift (and no sales pressure) at the end of the experience. I also got to invite a guest, so today Tony and I participated in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe Adrenaline Tour.

Hyundai is a Korean automaker that's been selling cars in this country since the late 1980s. Son Tony bought one a couple of years ago and has good things to say about it. According to the Adrenaline Tour Website, the tour was making stops in eight different parts of the country this summer. It was scheduled to be in our area yesterday and today. I RSVPd and received my first choice of time slots.

Although Hyundai's been producing the Genesis sedan for a few years,the Coupe is a new model for 2010. The Website says the car has all sorts of performance-car features, such as:
  • FRONT-ENGINE, REAR-WHEEL DRIVE for straight-line punch and ultimate handling precision
  • ALL-ALUMINUM 306-HP1 3.8L V6 or 210-hp1 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder
  • BREMBO® BRAKING SYSTEM2 as found on the world's fastest performance cars
  • TORSEN® LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL2 for enhanced acceleration and cornering dynamics
  • 5-LINK INDEPENDENT REAR SUSPENSION for an unwavering sense of control
I didn't know what to expect when we pulled into Gateway International Raceway, but it was easy to find the event tent in an empty parking lot. As we got out of the car, I heard the unmistakable sound of tires squealing on asphalt, and I started to get excited. After having our driver's licenses checked and signing wavers Tony and I got in line to drive. They had about a dozen cars circling the course. There were manual and automatic transmissions, 4- or 6-cylinder engines, and several colors available. We got to decide which one we wanted to drive.

Each car came equipped with a Hyundai associate in the passenger seat to answer questions and explain what to do. The course was a" custom" cone style track around the parking lot. There were a few straight sections where you could test the car's acceleration (it can do 0 - 60 mph in 5.5 seconds) and some tight curves to test its handling. It only took a couple of minutes to complete the course, but we were allowed to get in line again for a second turn. Even though I didn't drive in an aggressive manner--no screeching tires for me--it was an awesome experience. Before we left we filled out a short survey and got a fold-up car "junk" carrier and a nice chamois. Both were emblazoned with the car name. The gift was a nice touch, but being able to pretend I owned a performance car, if even for a few minutes, was the biggest gift of all.

The base price for the car was pretty reasonable, but of course the cars they brought to this event were top of the line, with lots of bells and whistles. If I was in the market for a sporty car I'd definitely consider this one.

1 comment:

  1. Please don't tell my husband. He is always in the market for a sporty car.