Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track

By now you know the Hyundai story.  They’ve turned themselves around and make attractive cars with loads of features and value.  Blah, blah, blah.  They have a 10 year 100,000 mile warrantee.  Yada, yada, ya.  Santa Fe, Sonata, Elantra, Veracruz, they’re all competitive in their respective classes.  Passionate?  No.  Even the highly regarded Genesis luxury sedan does not make an enthusiasts heart race.

The Genesis Coupe proves the engineers at the Flying H ranch love a good challenge.  It’s intent?  To mix it up with Mustang, Camaro and Challenger.   Don’t be confused by the name.  Based on the same chassis as the luxury life Genesis Sedan, the Coupe, with its wheelbase tightened up by 4.6 inches is dramatically different.  Hyundai’s not just kicking sand in the grilles of pony cars either.  They’re in the mood to pick a fight with anyone, offering up Nissan 370Z, Mazda RX-8, Infiniti G37, even BMW 1 or 3 Series as competitors too.  While the Z, 3, and G might be a stretch performance wise, the bargain proposition is definitely there.  And Hyundai is all about that.

What the Genesis Coupe isn’t.

It is not a replacement for the outgoing front-wheel drive Tiburon.  Genesis is much more of a true performance car with its rear drive chassis.  Pony car fanatics listen up- Korean engineers have the recipe for the secret sauce.  This car is not a Prelude or Celica.   It’s grown up and substantial, like, well… you know who.

Photo provided by Hyundai

Genesis Coupe ranges in price from $22,750 for a 210 HP turbocharged 4 with a 6-speed manual, to $32,750 for a fully loaded V6.  A bonus- the engines run on standard grade fuel.  Hyundai has shipped the 3.8 Track model my way.  The 3.8 -liter V6 makes 306 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft of torque at 4700 RPM.  Optional is a 6-speed automatic, dropping to a 5-speed on the 2.0T.  My tester has the 6-speed manual with a clutch pedal effort on the heavier side.  Very manageable though.  Throws are on the shorter end with a firm notchy engagement.  Shoving it into reverse often requires, well… a shove.

Photo provided by Hyundai

A fast friend

With the V6, Genesis Coupe will easily run from 0-60 in a fast 6 seconds according to my generally Dynolicous equipped iPhone (Hyundai says 5.7).  Put the pedal down and there’s a deep throaty soundtrack.    Acceleration like this is appreciated.   Handling dynamics are a black art and Hyundai engineers did a commendable job of tuning here. The Coupe hunkers down nicely as it bites into corners.  Great fun.   It helps that the cars structure is commendably solid.  The leather wrapped steering wheel has the proper amount of effort and there’s the right amount of road feel.

Stability electronics come on quick when driving gets hard, enthusiasts will reach for the off button when carving up the twisties.  There is no intermediate step, just on or not on.

Photo provided by Hyundai

3.8 Track models bump the 18” wheels up to 19ers, adding performance tires, limited slip differential, HID headlamps, and nicely bolstered leather chairs with adjustable headrests.  Last but not least very good anti-lock Brembo brakes are thrown in to keep the Genny in control.  Revised suspension settings deliver a very firm ride quality.  Fortunately it doesn’t cross over to harsh… for a sports coupe anyway.  Braking on rough pavement will bring up anti-lock brake feel.  I’m seeing 22 MPG.  EPA numbers are 17 city/26 highway for the V6, 21/30 for the 2.0T 4-cylinder.

I can see!  I can see!

Genesis is keyless.  Hit the little rubber pad on the exterior door handle to lock or unlock, the ignition is pushbutton.  Like black interiors?  Good, that’s the only color available at this writing.  The dark cockpit with silver trim bits wraps around the pilot and passenger.   With signature rear glass that swoops down a bit, visibility is very good for a coupe, certainly better than Camaro’s gun slit greenhouse.   It seems that visibility is underrated these days.

Photo provided by Hyundai

Overall materials look good but it’s more Sonata than Genesis Sedan.  The plastic backs of the front seats are a little low rent and their mounting hardware could use some trim.  iPod integration and Bluetooth phone pairing make life easier.  The premium Infinity sound system with XM sounds great.

As a general rule coupes aren’t great family vehicles.  Sadly Genesis is no exception.  Headroom is tight.  Anyone over 5’4” will be doing the Quasimodo hunch.  There are belts for two in back, keep it to children and you’ll be OK.


Photo provided by Hyundai

Gripes?

No drink holders or storage of any kind in the back seat.  Only the passenger side gets an easy to use front seat release to facilitate the trip in and out of the rear.  Heated seats get just one setting- lukewarm.  While it’s fine for me, those with long legs will miss a telescoping steering wheel adjustment.

There are a few things going on with the trunk.  Gooseneck hinges take up space and can pinch cargo.  The narrow trunk opening is fighting with Camaro for fastest mail slot of the year.  It first appears that the Coupe can handle four packs of Costco’s finest bath tissue but no go.  The lid won’t close without those hinge arms severely scrunching the tissue.  At least Hyundai offers up a little help in the form of a folding rear seat.  It doesn’t split, it’s an all or nothing proposition.

Color me quick

Paint names like Nordschleife Gray and Tsukuba Red evoke race tracks throughout the world.  Is it the Lime Rock Green paint or fresh design that catches people’s attention?  Whatever.  To a person folks get a bit slack jawed when they see the Flying  H logo on the grille.  For some reason those out of the loop immediately think the Genesis Coupe is a poseur.  Wrong.  Played right, it could be their RX-7 or 240Z, cars that became performance legends.

Photo provided by Hyundai

The Coupe is certainly in the same league as Mustang and Camaro, and a good choice for those who crave Nissan’s 370Z but need some sort of back seat.  Who’s the winner in a head to head comparison?   I’ll cop out and say we are.  Competition has given us all sorts of great cars to choose from nowadays.  Hyundai may be new to performance but the Genesis coupe runs with the old guard.

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