Having been on the market since 2010, the Genesis Coupe was starting to need a little lift. The rejuvenation process is now complete.
Not surprisingly, the vehicle’s Korean engineers seized this opportunity to revamp its appearance, even though it was already a good-looking car. They crafted a more aggressive nose for the Genesis Coupe, bringing it in line with the rest of the Hyundai family (except the Veracruz, whose future is uncertain at this point). The rear section was also reworked – and for the better.
Inside, the dashboard was partially redesigned, with the centre console now featuring three round gauges. On the left side is a useless real-time fuel economy gauge, while the centre dial shows the boost pressure as well as the torque output for the V6. Meanwhile, the far-right gauge displays the oil temperate – information that should be included on any self-respecting dashboard (which seem to be increasingly rare these days). Now, if they had pointed the gauges to face the driver…
As with most recent Hyundai products, the Genesis Coupe has been carefully assembled with quality materials. The equipment level is great for what you pay; in fact, it’s one of the best deals on the market in that regard. Even the base version comes with fun stuff, including an adjustable steering wheel (height and depth), stability and traction control (with three settings), and ports for your iPod, USB and auxiliary devices, Bluetooth, windshield wiper de-icer, etc.
Since the new Genesis Coupe is built on the same platform as the previous generation, its size is unchanged – meaning that the amount space for the rear seats is just as tight as before. Getting in and out of the back is a pain, and comfort for rear passengers is limited. Plus, you’d think that Hyundai would have finally decided to include rear windows that roll down!
The action is under the hood
The most significant changes were made under the hood. Although decided to keep the same two engines (a 2.0L four-cylinder turbo dubbed the 2.0T and a 3.8L V6 equipping the 3.8 GT), both can now pump out a few dozen extra horses. The 2.0T now delivers 64 more for a total of 274 horsepower, while the V6 produces an additional 42 for a total of 348 horsepower). Torque is also up, with the 2.0T reaching 275 lbs.-ft. at 2,000 rpm and the 3.8L reaching 292 lbs.-ft. at 5,300 rpm. Note that the V6 comes with direct injection (GDI), but the 4-cylinder does not. This is a little strange when you think about it, because the Sonata comes with the same engine – with GDI.
As for the transmission, buyers can opt for a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic, regardless of which engine they choose. It’s still a RWD, but the 2.0T R-Spec and 3.8 GT come with Torsen limited slip differential. According to Hyundai, fuel consumption for the 2.0T is 10.0L/100 km (6.6L on the highway), while the 3.8 posts 11.5L/100 km in the city (7.3L on the highway).
Both versions can take regular gas, though you’ll get more power if you fill up with super. Regardless of the engine, the suspension is a dual-link MacPherson strut in front and multi-link in back. Hyundai engineers made a point of making the suspension sportier, in addition to improving the steering ratio and brakes. The R-Spec and GT models are equipped with Brembo four-piston brakes in front and back.
The upgrades to the suspension, brakes and steering are really noticeable. All it took was a few laps on the track for us to realize that, even though this vehicle is no Corvette or Porsche 911, it still has what it takes to show drivers a good time.
It’s not all about numbers
Performance buffs may find themselves jumping to the conclusion that the V6 is the obvious choice, considering that its technical specs are much more impressive than the four-cylinder’s, despite the fact that it’s a turbo. And yet, at the Genesis Coupe press event, the 2.0T consistently clocked better times than the V6 on the tight, water-soaked track, regardless of who was driving.
Admittedly, all the driver assistance functions were deactivated, rendering the 3.8 GT a lot more delicate. And on such a tight track lined with cones, the 2.0T’s torque was a lot lower and with no lag from the turbo, its accelerations were snappy. Meanwhile, drivers had to go easy on the accelerator on the V6, lest the vehicle start to skid out of control (as I managed to make it do – but at least I didn’t knock over any cones, so I guess it wasn’t so bad!).
On a side note, the traction control and electronic stability control systems come with three settings. Level 1: Everything is activated and as soon as they detect a potential problem, they cut the engine’s gas supply and activate the brakes. Level 2: Upon detection of a suspicious movement, the TCS and ESC slow the vehicle by way of the brakes, but do not intervene with the gas supply. Level 3: Everything is in the driver’s hands, though the ABS still works.
Something for everyone
For everyday driving, the 2.0T is good enough to please performance drivers, as long as they can forgive the vehicle for its curt suspension and noisy exhaust at cruising speed. The new six-speed manual is much more inspired than the previous manual gearbox, but both lever and clutch are still a long way from being as precise and pleasant as those on the Mazda MX-5. Do the Genesis Coupe’s proudest rivals, the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI, have anything to worry about? Personally, I don’t think the VW GTI is going to feel any pressure, but the Civic might… According to Hyundai, the Genesis Coupe 2.0T is going to challenge the upcoming Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ. As soon as we get the chance to test these two, we’ll let you know where the cards fall!
Buyers with thick wallets who want an attractive vehicle that offers both luxury and smooth yet speedy accelerations can spoil themselves with the 3.8 GT. As its name implies, it’s more of a GT than a sports car. The six-speed manual scores about the same when paired with the V6 than with the four-cylinder. Meanwhile, the eight-speed automatic is beyond reproach, unless you’re fussy about the fact that it sometimes hesitates before finding the right gear when going uphill. Hyundai only expects 20% of Genesis Coupes sold in Canada to be equipped with the 3.8L engine. This trim will compete against the Infiniti G37 Coupe and the Nissan 370Z. If you ask me, Infiniti enjoys a lot more prestige than Hyundai. And as for the 370Z, its long and illustrious history plays in its favour, but it comes up two seats short. It would be really interesting to put these three head-to-head in a comparative test.
Youth is not eternal
The new Genesis Coupe will go on sale this spring. Its price varies from $26,499 to $36,999 for the 3.8 GT. Given that I’m now in my 50s, I think I’d opt for the latter. But if I were 15-20 years younger, the 2.0T would suit me just fine!
|Test model||2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe|
|Price range||$26,499 - $36,999|
|Price as tested||N/A|
|Warranty (basic)||5 years / 100,000 km|
|Warranty (powertrain)||5 years / 100,000 km|
|Competitive models||Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Honda Civic Si, Infiniti G37, Nissan Z, Volkswagen GTI|