When Genesis flew out from under the Hyundai brand to create its own brand, it left behind the Genesis Coupe, but promised to craft and produce its own upscale 2-door variant. Now the company has unveiled the Mint Concept in an obvious step toward that goal.
A collaboration of Hyundai design studios in Asia, Europe and North America, the Mint Concept is more than just a 2-door luxury coupe, though; it’s a mix of sporty open-road runner and all-electric luxury city car (with a range of over 320 km).
“The Mint Concept disconnects the physical dimensions of the vehicle from its positioning as a premium product, calquing the city car of the past to today,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group. “The Mint Concept is a designer’s Occam’s razor that challenged us to visualize a scaled-down interpretation of our signature aesthetic.”
The concept embodies a new avenue for Genesis brand expansion, using Genesis design cues but adapting them to a new vision of a 2-door, 3-box, 2-seat city car with a reduced footprint, flying against the historical perceptions of what a luxury coupe should be.
Design hallmarks include quad lamps front and rear (stretching to the corners of the car to emphasize width and stance), crest grille (again stretched horizontally to emphasize width, and closed over with just a tiny opening to provide a bit of cooling to the battery pack) and the signature parabolic line wrapping around the body.
Although its profile hints at “hatchback,” the Mint Concept does away with the traditional hatch/trunk combination in favour of an extended parcel shelf (designed for occasional use and accessible through over-wheel scissor-doors) behind the seats.
The minimalist interior appears expansive, thanks to open space dressed up in lightweight textiles and cognac leather. The G-Matrix is the defining element inside, on the pedals, floor and in a full-width gunmetal rail across the instrument panel.
“The interior styling of the Mint Concept takes influence from the Korean tradition of embracing the empty space, as well as modern European furniture design,” Donckerwolke said.
The seats are actually one bench seat, with a centre console that houses a central control knob able to flip up to aid sliding into position if one side of the car is inaccessible. The instrument panel also swivels to aid such accessibility.
The oblong steering wheel is surrounded by small graphic user interface information screens to individually call up critical vehicle functions that may need driver attention. Vehicle and driving information is contained in another display that is actually the steering wheel hub. We’re not sure where the horn button is.
“The Mint Concept is a new urban icon that marries classic proportions with forward-looking, minimalist design,” concluded Donckerwolke. “The Mint Concept instantly finds purpose and meaning in the city, just as so many people who call the world’s most densely populated metropolises home.”
Although the fancifulness of the concept vision is apparent, we can see the Mint Concept proceeding to production (with the appropriate design compromises to panels, features and equipment), since there’s no denying the unique design profile we’ve come to expect from Hyundai is workable into a unique coupe (maybe even a 4-seat coupe, with the high roofline).