By Neil Moore,
Metroland Media/Wheelstalk.com -
Hats off to Hyundai.
Not just for adding a true rear-drive sportscar to their ever expanding lineup, but for fixing something that didn’t suck.
I’ve heard little griping about the Genesis Coupe since it bowed in 2009 as a 2010 model, but the Korean automaker has, to their credit, seen fit to make more than just a few styling tweaks – like faux hood intakes, redesigned grille, LED daytime running lights and taillights – for 2013.
They’ve added serious muscle.
Let’s start with the top-trim 3.8 GT, which sells for $36,999 with six-speed manual or $38,799 with a new eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
This is the only Genesis Coupe that gets V6 power, and for 2013, the DOHC 3.8-litre Lambda engine benefits from gasoline direct injection (GDI), delivering a gain of 42 hp and 29 lb/ft of torque. This bumps peak horsepower to an impressive 348, and peak torque to 295 lb/ft.
These ratings assume you’re willing to pony up the extra for premium fuel, but if you’re thrifty like me and willing to give up a few points, the Lambda will run just fine on regular – thanks to its anti-knock technology.
However impressive the numbers, it is still more a question of power-to-weight, and that’s where the Genesis shines. The Coupe beats not only high-priced import competitors such as Infiniti G37 and BMW 335i, but also domestics like the V6-powered Mustang, Camaro and Challenger.
The Genesis 3.8 will also sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just over five seconds, but keep in mind that any tire slippage will wake up the traction control and cut power to the rear wheels.
Fortunately, the 2013 Coupe now offers three-stage driver-selectable electronic stability control, so you need not completely abandon the safety nannies to have a little fun.
In stage one, everything is full-on: both traction control and stability control. Stomp the throttle while going around a corner and the system will shut down the rear wheels before you even crack a smile.
Stage two provides a little braking if the back end steps too far out, but otherwise allows enough wheelspin for those who enjoy that kind of thing.
In a safe, controlled environment, of course.
And for those who want to push it a little harder on the track, stage three disables the works, allowing you to drift at will. Believe me, the 3.8-litre Coupe has no problem lighting up the tires and going sideways around a corner, I just wouldn’t recommend it on our public roadways.
Another tweak to the Lambda V6 is an acoustically-tuned pathway that pipes engine sound from the intake to the passenger cabin. I enjoy the snarl, but if you’re looking for a quiet ride, this ain’t it.
Indeed, the V6 is potent, but the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine is no slouch either. Especially now that it has an exhaust manifold-integrated twin-scroll turbocharger and a larger intercooler. This serves to reduce turbo lag and improve combustion efficiency.
This Theta II DOHC inline four-cylinder now puts out a robust 274 hp and 275 lb/ft of torque (on premium fuel), up from 210 and 223 in the current model.
Even the latter specs, at least when the Coupe debuted, seemed pretty good when compared to the Tiburon it replaced. In its last model year, the 2008 Tib’s little 2.7-litre V6 only managed 172 hp and 181 lb/ft, and the 2.0-litre four only 138 and 136.
Like its V6 sibling, the new 2.0T can take regular fuel. Its anti-knock sensors automatically adjust ignition timing and engine mapping to run smoothly, and with only a slight drop in performance.
It’s obviously not as quick as the 3.8 Coupe, and launch is a bit soft until the turbo spools up to around 2,000 rpm. But that’s to be expected with an automatic transmission – even the new eight-speed (an $1,800 option) as fitted to my tester.
If you want a sportier experience, order the six-speed manual – or better yet, the 2.0T R-Spec that, like the 3.8 GT, also includes a firmer track-tuned suspension and Torsen limited-slip differential.
In these performance-oriented models, front and rear spring rates are higher, and stabilizer bars are thicker for less body roll in hard cornering. I didn’t drive the R-Spec, but my 3.8 GT was noticeably firmer than the 2.0 Premium I tested a week earlier, yet its ride was not harsh.
Two transmissions are now shared, with the six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic with Shiftronic available for all, except the 2.0T R-Spec. Last year’s autoboxes had only five gears with the four cylinder and six gears with the V6.
As a four-cylinder model, the Genesis Coupe can be ordered five ways: the base 2.0T or Premium with manual or automatic, and the 2.0T R-Spec available only with manual.
The V6-powered Coupe comes in one fully-loaded trim level with both transmissions.
The base, six-speed 2.0T, which starts at $26,499, has a decent list of standard equipment. In addition to its new, upgraded powertrain, you get keyless entry and power windows (with auto up/down in front), along with automatic climate control, manual tilt/telescopic steering, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, and six-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 system with USB and aux inputs.
The stitched-seam dashboard now features electroluminescent gauges, and the revised centre stack includes a tri-gauge cluster with instant fuel economy and oil temperature, along with torque (on V6 models) or turbo boost pressure.
There are also more soft-touch surfaces, with a lower sheen for a premium look and feel.
The 2.0T Premium ($29,899/$31,699, manual/auto) adds power sunroof; leather seating, heated in front and with power adjust for the driver; touchscreen navigation, and upgraded 10-speaker Infinity AM/FM/XM/MP3 audio system.
I didn’t drive the R-Spec, but like the 3.8 GT, it is aimed at the performance enthusiast – on a tighter budget. It doesn’t include such niceties as heated seating, sunroof and the upgraded audio system, but like its V6-powered sibling, is equipped with track-tuned suspension and limited-slip differential as mentioned above, along with 19-inch aluminum alloys, larger rotors and a set of four-piston Brembo brakes.
With only two doors and a rear-sloping roofline, the Genesis Coupe isn’t particularly good at people carrying, but with its variants, does serve at least two different audiences.
In the R-Spec and GT it is a well-priced, track-ready coupe that is as capable as it is fun to drive.
In the other models, it’s a stylish and sporty ride that will take you around town in comfort and civility – and with plenty of ‘go’ to match the ‘show.’
Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T Premium and 3.8 GT 2013 at a glance
BODY STYLE: mid-size sports coupe
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbocharged DOHC 16-valve four cylinder (274 hp/275 lb/ft of torque); 3.8-litre 24-valve V6 (348 hp and 295 lb/ft of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: 2.0T manual 10.0/6.6 L/100 km (city/hwy); 2.0T auto 10.4/6.4 L/100 km (city/hwy); 3.8-litre manual 11.5/7.3 L/100 km (city/hwy); 3.8-litre auto 11.3/7.0 L/100 km (city/hwy)
CARGO: 332 litres
PRICE: 2.0T manual $26,499, automatic $28,299; R-Spec $28,700; 2.0T Premium manual $29,899, automatic $31,699; 3.8 GT manual $36,999, automatic $38,799