2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe - First Drive, 2/2012
Also adding to the 3.8 models’ appeal—Hyundai hopes—is that it’s added a sound box essentially to make the V-6 more vocal inside the car (by literally piping some of the engine sound into the cabin), without making the neighbors irate. This sounds a little boy-racerish—and we were skeptically expecting something along the lines of old Chevy Eurosport resonators—but it's well executed, with a rich, sonorous note not kicking in especially vocally until you're deep into the throttle or in the engine's upper ranges.
And in a nod to Hyundai’s frugal, practical side, both engines can run on regular gas if you so desire, and it only cuts output to 260 hp/260 lb-ft for the four and 344 hp/292 lb-ft for the V-6.
More predictable, forgiving…and comfortable
Hyundai has carried over the Genesis Coupe’s existing suspension layout, with a dual-link MacPherson strut front suspension and five-link independent rear—with a Torsen limited-slip diff in R-Spec and Track models—but it’s fine tuned the setup for better, more predictable body control and better control over rough surfaces; in addition dampers have been completely reconfigured and retuned to improve ride quality in those performance trims. And, surprisingly, the stabilizer bar thickness has actually been reduced—for better performance, as well as a better ride.
On the track, or on the highways around Las Vegas—mostly smooth and untouched by frost, snowplows, or temblors—we couldn’t really put that to the test. But from what we gleaned, the new dampers make a difference on rebound, and over rippled pavement surfaces such as those on freeways in Southern California.
While we left the stability control fully engaged on the road—of course—we selected traction mode for most of our track driving, as it still allows anti-lock braking if you get too out of line, yet lets you drift somewhat or get the tail out without intervention, and without cutting engine power (new to the 2013 model).
But the suspension tweaks show, even on the smooth track. If you overshoot apex, you can ‘manhandle’ the Gen Coupe back into position by nailing the throttle and countersteering, taking advantage of all that additional torque. But push ever-harder into a sweeping corner, and all the tuning improvements shine through; you can rather precisely, ever slightly, rotate the tail to maintain the right trajectory—and have a lot of fun with it.
Overall, there’s less snapping of the tail than we remember observing with the former car in lifting off, and the rear end feels a little more fluid, a little more confident. As before, staggered-width tires help provide that balance, too.
We never came close to feeling any fade from the strong Brembo brakes (four-piston and ventilated, front and rear) offered in the Track and R-Spec models, either. In either of these two performance forms, the Genesis Coupe feels ready for track day, off the dealer lot. You might also want to get the dealer-installed (bolt) camber adjustment.
Frugal is more fun here
By the end of the day, we had a clear favorite: the 2.0T R-spec with the six-speed manual gearbox. It’s not quite as quick as the 3.8-liter (and it doesn’t sound as nice), but almost—it weighs about 200 pounds less—and the clincher, really, was that it seemed to transfer its weight more gracefully when going hard into a corner. Oddly (and we say this as it’s a turbocharged, rear-wheel-drive coupe), it felt a little more forgiving, a little more confident.
While the Genesis Coupe calls out to those with the urge to get out to the autocross course or the occasional track day, it's remarkably well suited for double duty as a reasonably comfortable commuter. The seats are pretty good, and there’s headroom and legroom for most drivers. Hyundai has also added telescopic steering adjustment. Back-seat space is undeniably child-sized; but the trunk is pretty impressive (it’s shallow, but long), and the Gen Coupe has the solid makings of a weekend touring car that won’t elicit dreaded complaints about comforts from your companion.