DRIVEN: Hyundai Dials In Genesis Coupe


Bob Golfen  |  Posted August 14, 2012   Phoenix, AZ

Hyundai has updated its enjoyable Genesis Coupe for 2013 with sharper styling, improved interior and more power, bringing the sporty machine further into focus.

Genesis Coupe, which basically took the place of the Tiburon in 2009 and has nothing at all to do with the Genesis sedan, also surprises with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the kind of sophisticated setup usually reserved for more-expensive cars.

But isn’t that Hyundai’s advantage, offering drivers more for less? The rear-wheel-drive Coupe continues that trend, competing with confidence against V6 versions of Mustang and Camaro, and the Nissan 370Z. New rivals that are getting a lot of attention are the near-twins Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, sophisticated rear-wheel-drive coupes that have stepped up the game with their sports-car handling.

Midsize sporty cars with just two doors have become a niche group, but Hyundai moves ahead with its entry geared toward driving enthusiasts and compact tuners.

I drove the fully loaded Coupe in the upper-end Grand Touring edition with a 348-horsepower V6 and automatic, which costs a relatively modest $32,000, plus shipping. The well-equipped base model with a 274-horsepower turbo four and six-speed manual is just $24,250. Even the top-dog Track version equipped for club days on the circuit tops out at $34,250, with just a bit more for the R-Spec treatment.

That’s a lot of head-turning sports coupe for the money, backed by the best warranty program in the business. And the power gain is significant, up 64 horsepower for the turbo four, and an increase of 42 for the V6.

A major improvement for 2013 is the Coupe’s handling, which feels better composed and more responsive than the previous version. The steering feels more precise, but still numb to driver feedback. The four-wheel Brembo disc brakes are highly effective.

The 3.8 is strong and willing, though somewhat noisy even under moderate throttle, and setting up a sonorous racket under hard acceleration. It has plenty of power, but what a roar.

The V6 is designed to run on premium fuel, but according to the spec sheet, there’s just a minor performance penalty if you cheap out and buy regular instead.

The eight-speed transmission helps the Genesis Coupe gain fuel mileage, and it works fairly smoothly. It does feel like it’s shifting constantly, all the more noticeable because of the engine noise. A six-speed stickshift is still available.

Mileage is 18 city and 28 highway for the V6 with automatic, about on par with the competition. With the 2-liter turbo four and stickshift, mileage moves up to 21 city and 30 highway.

The styling looks agreeably aggressive, although I don’t care for the broad hunk of flat-black plastic in the grille. And those black-plastic inserts that look like scoops up on the hood are just too blatantly fake. Otherwise, the styling is a nice update of the classic coupe form, with good proportions and contours, and a solid stance.

The interior is much improved, mainly the seats that are more comfortable and supportive. The dashboard shape takes some getting used to, but it’s all very functional with the always-appreciated physical dials and controls for audio and climate rather than having to poke at the video screen. The materials and execution seem high quality, better than you’d expect in this price range; the jury’s still out on the stitched-seam effect.

Now, there are three dials situated low on the center console, way out of the driver’s line of vision that compete with each other for uselessness. They are: a wildly flipping fuel-economy gauge, a torque gauge of questionable worth at best, and an oil-temperature gauge, which I suppose would have some value on the track. But wouldn’t a coolant-temperature gauge be a lot more useful? There is none.

I’m still trying to figure out what that torque gauge is for; for the turbo model, it becomes a turbo-boost gauge.  

If Hyundai insists on having three faux-sporty gauges, why not at least make them worthwhile, such as cooling system, oil pressure and amperage?

The Grand Touring model comes fully loaded without any ala carte options, and includes leather seats, full power features, navigation, Blue Link telematics, Bluetooth, keyless entry and start up, automatic climate control, sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and an excellent 360-watt, 10-speaker Infinity sound system. With shipping, it came out to a reasonable $32,875.

Aside from the engine roar and a few sporty affectations, Genesis Coupe shows new refinement that was lacking in the last version, while the added power comes without a fuel-mileage penalty. It’s a fun car to drive, modestly priced and I can see it growing in popularity among young enthusiasts.


Vehicle type: Four-passenger, two-door coupe, rear-wheel drive.
Engine: 3.8-liter V6, 348 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, 295 pound-feet of torque at 5,800 rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Wheelbase: 111 inches.
Overall length: 182.3 inches.
Curb weight: 3,613 pounds.
EPA mileage rating: 18 city, 28 highway, 22 combined.

Bob Golfen, Automotive Editor for, is a veteran auto writer based in Phoenix, Arizona, with a passion for collector cars, car culture and the automotive fans can email Bob Golfen at// <![CDATA[
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