The Hyundai We’ve all Been Waiting for.
Hyundai has definitely arrived on the performance car scene and that reality has left many shaking their heads in wonderment. It’s not just that the Genesis Coupe is the latest iteration of a Hyundai sports car but it’s been completely reinvented and it’s light-years ahead of its predecessor. And, to the dismay of the competition, it’s running with the pack for far less money.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding both the Genesis Sedan and Coupe but we tend to shy away from other reports until we get our own chance behind the steering wheel. Regardless of what others were reporting, we needed to get a first-hand impression of the car and gather our own data in the process.
The competitor list consists of the twin turbo BMW 335i, Ford Mustang GT, Mazda RX-8 and the Infiniti G37S. Judging from that list, Hyundai did not tackle any weaklings, since most of these cars are over 300 hp, some with performance roots dating back over 50 years. Regardless, Hyundai has stormed to the front with their own version of an over 300 hp coupe. Considering the styling and dimensions of the Genesis Coupe, it is quite clear that the G37S was the primary target but the Genesis is slightly wider, lower and has an edge on the power to weight ratio.
At 1600 kg (3550 lb), the 3.8 GT Genesis Coupe fits into the sector well but the turbo four tips the scales at only 1474 kg (3249 lb). A lightweight by modern standards, the 2.0T Coupe is more agile than its larger sibling by dropping 160 kg (350 lb) The turbo model pumps out a modest 210 hp and 316 Nm (233 lb-ft) of torque but as with other turbo cars using premium fuel will give more horsepower. There are claims that the Genesis will produce 223 hp on premium.
Our 3.8 GT test car had an impressive physical presence and advertises its performance characteristics like a neon sign. From the sticky Bridgestone Potenza RE050s to the blazing red Brembo brakes, even to a casual onlooker (and there were many) the car oozes excitement. Naturally, as with any new platform, we were sceptical but that soon changed.
The 3.8 GT was a bullet, rocketing to from zero to 100 km/h in only 5.8 s offering torque on the bottom end that was eager to be unleashed. The 3.8 L V6 is a dual overhead cam motor with CVVT variable timing that pumps out 306 hp with 360 Nm (266lb-ft) of twist at only 2600 rpm. Naturally, most consumers believe that the engine in the 3.8 GT is a performance version of the V6 in the Genesis sedan – it isn’t. The RS3800 V6 is completely new and offers all of the elements one would expect in a sports car including instantaneous revs, lighter weight and a great tuned exhaust note.
The ride of this car is on point. It feels solid and capable yet offers a decent jolt-free experience around the decaying infrastructure of the city. On a smooth surface with a bunch of cones strategically placed, the 3.8 GT transforms into a sure-footed race car. With minimal squat on acceleration, we dove into the cones with the traction control disabled should understeer rear its ugly head. The turn-in is immediate and the tires respond to the demands placed on them with mild understeer easily eradicated with more throttle to get the tail involved. The 3.8 GT will hold 0.9 g on the skidpad (same as the 2.0 T GT) and tackle the slalom at 111.5 km/h amounting to a serious effort on Hyundai’s part to not only enter the class but send several of its rivals packing.
The Brembo brakes are naturally responsive and unyielding in hauling this middleweight to a full stop in only 34 m with the 2.0T GT trailing by less than a metre. Overall, the lighter curb weight makes the 2.0T GT feel like more of a driver’s car although the numbers are basically the same in the handling and braking departments. Both GT Coupes abilities owe a lot to the forged 19-inch alloy wheels fit with Potenza 050s in 225/45R19 and 245/40R19.
Inside, the build quality is more upscale in comparison to the now defunct Tiburon. Sure it isn’t going to bully around BMW or Infiniti in this area but definitely fares well against the rest. The gauges are clear, seating position and visibility is adequate for a style of car prone to blind spots. The fit and finish are above average and all of the amenities are there in the GT. Blue-tooth, iPod controls, steering wheel controls, heated seats and a leather wrapped wheel are all included.
Touted as the new Nissan 240SX for this generation - only made by Hyundai, the 2.0T GT should have been the Nissan S16. It is affordable, stylish and with some tweaks to the turbocharged powerplant, will rock the race track. Therefore, we have to give the edge to the 2.0T 6-speed manual cars since the base price is only $24,995. The fully jammed 3.8 GT is almost $37,000 pushing it into a territory that it might not want to occupy because buyers in that range can likely afford more. In the middle is the 2.0T GT that includes Brembo brakes, 19-inch alloys, tuned suspension, leather, moonroof and 10-speaker Infinity sound system that pounds, all for only $30,745. The 2.0T can run on regular gas but should you want to turn up the wick, the 4 cylinder can handle higher boost with its low 9.3:1 compression. The 2.0T motor can trace its roots back to the 4B11 in the Mitsubishi Evolution and the 2.4 L in the SRT-4 Caliber, so the durability and upside potential of the motor should be remarkable.
The 2.0T GT is alone in its class as there are no turbo RWD coupes in that price range and none powered by a 4 cylinder in any range. For that reason, it is probably the best buy for your sports car dollar today and will impress bystanders on the street and track.
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Base price: $24,995 (2.0T)
Price as tested: $36,795 (3.8GT)
Engine: 2.0L Turbo I4 DOHC or 3.8L V6 CVVT DOHC
Output: 300 hp / 360 Nm (266lb-ft) (3.8L) or 210 hp / 316 Nm (233 lb-ft) (2.0T)
Driveline: FR with either 6-speed manual or 6-speed ZF automatic
0-100 KM = 5.8s (3.8GT)
100-0 KM/h = 34m (3.8GT)
Tested with: V-Box Performance Meter www.vboxusa.com