A week spent in the improved and updated rear wheel drive sport coupe from Hyundai
Rear seat room
Following a veritable internet-fueled feeding frenzy, the production Hyundai Genesis Coupe was unveiled on March 19th during press preview days at the 2008 New York Auto Show.
It began arriving at dealerships in February of the next year as a 2011 model.
For the first two years buyers had the choice of either a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, 210 horsepower inline-4, or Hyundai's 3.8-liter Lambda V6 producing 306 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque.
While we never had the chance to test a Genesis Coupe with either one of these engines, our tester, a 2013 3.8 Track model, is the recipient of a number of upgrades that were accomplished during a mid-cycle refresh for the 2013 model year.
Based on the same platform as the Genesis sedan, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is 14 inches shorter and an inch narrower. Its height is 3.6 inches lower and the coupe's wheelbase is also shorter by 4.6 inches over its sedan counterpart.
It's also the sportiest vehicle in Hyundai's lineup.
It should be noted that the original Genesis Coupe was around for nearly 11 months before the sixth-generation Sonata, boasting Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language, burst upon the scene. Because of this, the styling of the original coupe was more akin to that of the fourth generation Elantra.
But much of that changed when the model was refreshed for the 2013 model year.
Up front, the updated coupe features a new grille and front fascia that's both wider and more aggressive – think of it as a Hyundai Veloster on steroids. The headlamp enclosures and graphics were also changed. Rather than a continuous lower air intake, the two outboard fog lamps are now enclosed in separate pods and, on 3.8 Grand Touring and Track models, feature LED daytime running lights.
Above the grille there's a revised hood shape featuring trapezoidal-shaped hood accents with black inserts. Along the sides there's little "fluidic sculpting" as this would've entailed new fender, door and quarter panel stampings. Changes do include new 18 and 19-inch wheel designs while, in back, there are revised rear combination lamps with LED lighting.
Another complaint about the original Genesis Coupe was its less than impressive interior materials and execution. Credit Hyundai for addressing this issue by introducing nearly a complete re-design including a new steering wheel, new dash cover with a more premium look and feel and a completely new center console.
The new touch screen is now higher on the dash for better visibility while the instrumentation now features an electroluminescent gauge cluster with a multi-info display screen.
The center stack is also new and features soft-touch sides, an improved control layout and three retro-looking Smith-type round gauges that measure fuel consumption, engine torque and engine oil temperature.
Speaking of controls, I found all of them to be extremely intuitive as well as within easy reach of the driver, while the switchgear was also buttery smooth.
Aside from those obvious changes, the steering wheel now telescopes as well as tilts, there is new premium double stitching on both the upper dash and door panels and the supportive front seats now feature 2-stage heaters as well as seatback pockets for each.
Speaking of seats, the driver and front seat passenger will find plenty of head, shoulder, hip, and leg room while the rear seat, albeit a nice touch, should still be reserved for small children.
Under the hood
The biggest changes, however, were reserved for the engine compartment.
The base 2.0-liter inline-4 now has direct injection, a new twin-scroll turbo and a larger intercooler to give it 274 horsepower (on premium fuel) and 275 lb.-ft. of torque – an increase of 64 horsepower and 52 lb.-ft.
The 3.8-liter was also given direct injection and now produces 348 horsepower (344 horsepower using regular fuel) – a 38 horsepower jump – while EPA fuel economy is down slightly from 17/27/20 to 16/25/19 city/highway/combined mpg. Our own observed fuel economy in 200 miles of fairly aggressive (the only way to drive it) city driving was an above average 22.4 mpg.
The 2013 Genesis coupe is available in no less than six trim levels: base 2.0 turbo, 2.0 turbo Premium, 2.0 turbo R-Spec, 3.8 R-spec, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track.
Once again standard features, given Hyundai's penchant for including everything but the kitchen sink in even their most entry-level vehicles, are more than complete.
On our Gran Premio Gray 3.8 Track A/T tester it meant this included a leather interior, power lumbar for the driver's seat, power tilt and slide sunroof, illuminated door sill plates, Xenon HID automatic headlights, proximity key and push-button start, automatic climate control, a nav system on the 7" touchscreen, LED daytime running and tail lights, auto-up/down power windows, locks and heated outside mirrors with built-in turn signals. A tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated cruise, audio and phone controls, leather-wrapped shift knob, 360-watt Infinity sound system with AM/FM/XM and HD radio along with a 90-day trial of NavTraffic.
There was also, among other things, an iPod/USB/auxiliary port, Bluetooth phone system, aero wipers, a rear spoiler and aluminum pedals.
Our 3.8 Track, being the ultimate model, was equipped with Brembo brakes all around, Torsen limited-slip differential and 19-inch wheels shod with 245/40R19 Bridgestone Potenza summer tires. It also featured a track suspension featuring front shocks with low velocity control for better road compliance as well as a standard strut tower brace along with Hyundai's new three-stage traction-and stability-control system.
As you might expect of the new setup, while much more forgiving, it still lends itself to and offers greater advantages, when driving on smooth roads as well as closed tracks.
Not only is the Genesis Coupe nimble, the steering is very direct and well-weighted – communicating even the minutest details to the driver. Body control is also excellent and there is a great deal of suspension compliance over rough surfaces.
Point the Genesis Coupe into a corner and it tracks like a laser, even carving through off-camber turns with confidence. Put your foot into it and the engine sounds great. The experience was a revelation because, for the most part, Hyundais are known as vehicles that are particularly fun to drive. Take it from us, the Genesis Coupe is.
Having said that, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the suspension setup that makes this possible can also pose challenges in normal driving. For the most part the improved ride is still very stiff. In addition, both tire and road noise filter through to the cabin. Both these ride and noise issues are exacerbated over rough, coarse surfaces – not a good thing given the potholed roads so prevalent in southeast Michigan.
2013 Genesis Coupe new car pricing starts at a very reasonable $25,145, including an $895 destination fee, for a manually-equipped base 2.0 turbo and can top out at $33,780 for a fully-optioned 3.8 Track with the 8-speed automatic. Our tester, with a base price of $34,350 and two of just six available options – carpeted floor mats ($110) and an iPod cable ($25), checked in close to the top at $33,780.
The Bottom Line
The Coupe signals that the Korean manufacturer is certainly ready to play in performance sport coupe segment. Updates for the 2013 model year have made it even more appealing – especially the interior.
So for those out there who are considering a performance coupe - especially one that offers a lot of bang for the buck – we suggest taking a serious look at the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.