2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT Road Test Review

Simon Hill - CAP staff
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

When Hyundai unleashed the Genesis Coupe onto the North American market for the 2010 model year, it was a revelation: a surprising new challenger to the likes of the Nissan 370Z, Ford Mustang and Infiniti G37, from perhaps the least expected of manufacturers. Hyundai didn't disappoint though, and the new car quickly established itself as a genuine contender, whether equipped with the base car's turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder motor or the GT's 3.8-litre V6.

Now three years later, Hyundai has given the Genesis Coupe a thorough - and thoroughly successful - mid-life refresh, making it in many ways a bit of a benchmark car and giving it fresh ammunition to battle the upstart Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins (yes indeed, 2012 has been a good year for fans of rear-wheel drive sports coupes).

Outside, the changes to the Genesis Coupe are limited to a new front end and new hood, but to say "limited" doesn't capture just what a dramatic difference these changes make to the car's road presence. The Genesis Coupe always had sweet lines and a nicely planted stance, but the original front end was a bit mild and forgettable. Not anymore.

Working from the company's "fluidic sculpture" design book and borrowing a bit from the recently introduced Veloster, Hyundai has given the Genesis Coupe an aggressive new look with a big maw of a grille that pretty much announces "I'll eat you for lunch!" The hood is broader and flatter towards the front, losing the older car's deep backward-sweeping creases and gaining some showy hood vents instead. Offsetting all these aggressive touches on the 3.8 GT are sophisticated-looking new LED accent lights that keep the overall look civilized and mature. Appearances are always a subjective thing, but I like the new look, and one thing for sure is that it draws attention in a way that the old car never did, especially in my test car's Tsukuba Red paint.

Inside, the changes continue with an upscale looking new stitched dash and a redesigned centre stack that replaces the old car's overabundance of pushbuttons with a much more rational selection of knobs and switches. The changes also created space for a trio of new gauges displaying instantaneous fuel consumption, torque output (or boost pressure in the 2.0T) and oil temperature. These gauges look cool, but aside from the oil temperature (which provides a good indication of when it's safe to start making forays towards the redline), I found them more entertaining than actually useful.

I did find the 3.8 GT's standard navigation system useful, however, as well as its standard auto-dimming rearview mirror, proximity entry and pushbutton start. I also thoroughly enjoyed its upgraded 10-speaker Infinity audio system, which, like all Genesis Coupes, includes Bluetooth connectivity. In more practical matters I found my test car's tan leather front seats to be supremely comfortable, though I'm not sure drivers over six feet tall would necessarily feel the same way, as there's not an abundance of spare headroom. The back seat is even worse in this regard: while there's plenty of rear legroom (unlike in most coupes) there's very little headroom at all, so even at 5'11" I found myself having to hunch down uncomfortably to fit in the back. The trunk is likewise not very tall, but it is very deep, so there's plenty of room for luggage whether you're out grand touring or just hauling groceries.

With all the exterior and interior changes the designers made to the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai could almost be forgiven for calling the car's refresh complete and sending it to market, but the engineers have been busy too, and some of the most significant changes to the 2013 model are under its skin.

First up, the suspension was recalibrated with new spring rates, dampers and bushings, with the aim of improving road feel and control while reducing body roll and increasing comfort. The 3.8 GT gets the same suspension calibration as the 2.0T R-Spec, and I found it to be quick-steering and responsive (about as responsive as possible without becoming nervous on the highway), with precise and predictable turn-in. The ride is about perfect for a sports coupe, firm and controlled but not harsh. In my driving notes I commented that the car feels pleasingly light on its feet, and a quick check of the specs reveals that it is indeed reasonably svelte, checking in at around 1,560 kg (3,440 lbs) in GT trim with the manual transmission.

The manual transmission was another area that received attention for 2013, with various changes made to improve the shifting experience. These include a lighter, more progressive clutch action, reduced shifter effort, and a different driveshaft connection to reduce "shift shock." From the driver's seat the changes seem to have been successful, and I found the 3.8 GT's six-speed easy and entertaining to work through the gears, though I would perhaps change the shape of the shift-knob if I could, as I prefer a little less forward sweep at the top of the lever. If you choose an automatic transmission, you get an 8-speed with standard paddle shifters.

I've been saving the best for last, because under the hood both engines have received changes that substantially increase power without sacrificing economy. For the 2.0T this means a new twin-scroll turbocharger and bigger intercooler that lets the little 4-banger pump out an impressive 274 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque (that's up from 210 horsepower for the 2011 model). For my test car's big 3.8-litre V6 it means a switch to direct injection, netting a jump from 306 horsepower up to a mighty 348 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. City/highway fuel consumption is rated at 10 / 6.6 L/100km for the 4-cylinder and 11.5 / 7.3 L/100km for the V6 (both with the manual transmission).

The V6 is a real delight, with abundant power and a wonderful snarl under acceleration (disclosure: Hyundai incorporated an intake noise induction tube to enhance the auditory experience), but it has a quiet, docile nature when driven with restraint. With all that power underfoot, it's easy to break the back wheels loose, and with the traction control and vehicle stability control turned off this is splendidly good fun, as the Genesis Coupe will perform easily-controlled powerslides without breaking a sweat (my apologies to Hyundai for the couple-hundred kilometres worth of tread life I burned off the tires while researching this fact). Unfortunately when the electronic nannies are switched on, which is (and well should be) the default setting, the car overreacts to even the slightest hint of wheelspin and shuts things down in a rather abrupt manner.

Price-wise, Hyundai's Genesis Coupe offers a $10,000 spread between the base 2.0T ($26,499 with the manual transmission, plus $1,565 in destination fees) and the thoroughly loaded 3.8 GT ($36,999 plus destination fees with the manual transmission, $38,799 with the automatic). This means that, depending on how you equip your Genesis Coupe, it remains competitive with cars ranging from the $25,990 Scion FR-S to the $33,608 Ford Mustang GT, but it can also punch above its weight and go after cars like the $46,800 Infiniti G37 Coupe. In a sense it offers the best of all of these cars, striking a nice balance between the handling prowess of the Scion, the raw power of the Mustang GT and the luxurious refinement of the Infiniti. It's a heady mix of characteristics that makes the Genesis Coupe well worth a look if you're in the market for an affordable sports coupe.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Hyundai, 2013, Genesis Coupe, $30,000 - $39,999,

Organizations: Hyundai

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page