2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: Review

This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2015.
By James Tate of MSN Autos
Rating: 8.5

Bottom Line:

Hyundai aims for the stars with Infiniti G37 aspirations, but is more than happy to take down everything else on the way up. With an undeniable bang-for-the-buck performance and style package, the latter is likely.
Pros:
  • Champagne performance on a beer budget
  • V6 exhaust note that sings with the best
  • 2.0T gets better mileage than a Honda Civic SI
Cons:
  • Ratty 2.0T engine note
  • Lackluster acceleration on 2.0T
  • Unlovable manual shifter

In creating the 2010 Genesis Coupe, Hyundai targeted premium-segment benchmarks from BMW and Infiniti, while undercutting their price dramatically.

Ultimately, the formula — which was brilliantly executed with the recent Genesis sedan| — fell a bit short when applied to the Genesis coupe; the sporty two-door comes close, but still lacks the precision and refinement of the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G37.

Even so, the 2010 Genesis Coupe sets an impressive new benchmark for affordable sport coupes — an accomplishment of which Hyundai should be proud. Do we have another candidate for North American Car of the Year?

Model Lineup
The name Genesis refers to Hyundai's new rear-wheel-drive line, and while the sedan and coupe by this name share some technical bits, the similarities end there. The Coupe is a purpose-built, traditional 2+2 sports car. With six current configurations split between two engines, there are plenty of ways to find a Coupe to match your style.

While the entry-level, 2.0-liter turbocharged Genesis Coupe comes bargain-packaged with features including 18-inch wheels, Bluetooth, iPod/USB input and keyless entry, the 2.0T Premium ups the comfort and convenience factor with a power sunroof, 360-watt Infinity sound system and a power driver's seat. Building off the Premium trim, the Track loads up the 2.0T with interior and exterior trim accents, 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, stiffer suspension, HID headlights and a Torsen limited-slip differential.

The V6 Coupe comes in three trims: 3.8, 3.8 GT and 3.8 Track. Unlike the hierarchy found in 2.0T models, the 3.8 editions are designed to be seen as apples and oranges — buy the 3.8 if you need a V6, opt for the GT if you like your luxury, or if you're still looking to fly on back roads, get the Track. A few upscale variations come with all 3.8s, such as standard leather seating and climate control, as well as a backup warning system on the GT.

Mid-model year, Hyundai will offer an additional Coupe, the R-Spec, for serious enthusiasts. It will contain all the performance goodies of the 6-speed 2.0T Track, but without the fat. By deleting the added comfort and convenience features, the R-Spec sheds weight and nearly $3,000 off the sticker price. This is a no-brainer choice for racers and tuners alike.

Under the Hood
As denoted by the model names, the Genesis Coupe is available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four or a 3.8-liter normally aspirated V6 similar to that found in the Genesis sedan. Both engines are mated to a standard 6-speed manual transmission with traction and stability control. Rev-matching automatics with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are optional on either engine, but the 3.8 automatics pick up an extra gear over the 2.0Ts' 5-speed automatic.

Out of the box, the 2.0T puts down 210 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 223 lb-ft of torque at only 2000 rpm. Although dramatically less powerful, this "World Engine," which shares some architecture with variants produced by Mitsubishi and Chrysler, should be able to easily eclipse the power levels of the V6 with relatively minor aftermarket tinkering. Paired with a roughly 100-pound weight savings, the 2.0T will inevitably be the tuner favorite. For the rest of us, the line-topping V6 produces a stout 306 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 266 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm.

EPA mileage estimates for the duo are surprisingly frugal. The 2.0T models bring home 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway on the manual and 20/29 mpg with the auto, besting the Honda Civic. Opt for the notably large V6 and ratings drop to 18/26 mpg and 17/26 mpg, respectively. Both engines have been rated for 87 octane, giving owners the choice to either save cash or gain a few ponies with premium fuel.

Inner Space
Much like the exterior sheet metal, the cockpit clearly defines the Coupe's purpose. The center stack slopes into a wraparound dash that, together with side-hugging seat bolsters, envelops drivers to keep them firmly in place during high-speed maneuvers. A thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and pedals placed for fancy footwork further cement the sporting intent. With the exception of sideways-mounted window switches, a clean array of logically placed controls completes an exceptional design.

The interior is not all peaches, though. The chintzy silver trim and budget LCD screen impart a downscale touch to an otherwise pleasant environment — an unfortunate reminder of the price point. Additionally, manual rake adjustment on an otherwise power driver's seat and lack of a telescopic steering wheel are strange oversights at the expense of less important high-end features, like a proximity key and backup warning.

Comfort is not an issue in the Coupe. Although they offer great lateral support for spirited driving, the front seats are equally well-suited for the daily commute. Leather — standard on all 3.8 trims — helps bridge the gap to snobbier badges. Rear seats are best left to the vertically challenged, but they at least fold down for anything too large to fit in the 10-cubic-foot trunk.

On the Road
For the vast majority of buyers who require more than a weekend toy, rest assured there is no need for a second car. While predictably firm, the ride is certainly pleasant enough to appease higher-maintenance passengers. Even the stiffer Track version is not the teeth-jarring torture chamber the name implies, offering more comfort than a standard Mazda RX8.

When the canyon roads do call, it's good to know the Genesis Coupe is more than a sheep in wolf's clothing. Open up its melodic V6 and the 3.8 Track quickly puts miles between it and the late [yundai Tiburon, with claimed mid-five-second zero to 60 mph times. Hard corners are met with sharply responsive turn in and G-loading grip. Turn off the zero-fun stability control, and sideways antics are at your right foot's command. And when it's time to bring all 3,389 pounds to a quick stop, fade-free Brembo brakes give the 3.8 Track a serious edge.

While the athletics are remarkable considering the price, they do fall short of perfect. Dulled midcorner steering feel and slight instability at the limit mean more focused competitors still have an advantage, albeit at the expense of comfort and/or sticker price.

Non-Track versions offer only a mildly softened agility and, contrary to our hopes, the Shiftronic-equipped 3.8 turned out to be the most enjoyable combination. The more fitting 6-speed manual is unfortunately hindered by intrusive engine controls that dial back the fun factor, making quick, smooth shifts difficult. However, the Genesis is Hyundai's first-ever proper sports car, so don't be surprised if these minor issues find themselves resolved over the coming model years.

Right for You?
With a starting price of $22,000, and topping out at $31,000 for a loaded 3.8 Track, the Genesis Coupe comfortably attacks less substantive econo-sportsters while emulating the experience of premium coupes for a fraction of the price. Although unlikely to turn many BMW buyers' heads, the value and performance are impossible to ignore. In its own words, Hyundai marks the Coupe as an "everyday enthusiast's car," and by that definition it is an absolute success.

James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side asSenior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.

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BB02 - 9/20/2014 1:44:24 AM