Hyundai Genesis Coupe

A good car just gets better with more power and agility as it's tweaked for improvements

LAS VEGAS?When I first tested the Hyundai Genesis Coupe in V6 GT guise a couple of years ago, I was astounded by how good it was. Sharp looks, near ideal driving position and an entertaining rear-drive chassis that showed a remarkable level of balance.

But I also had a few complaints: overly harsh ride in the GT, the lack of a telescoping steering column, and an aggressive electronic stability control that clamped down on the fun way too early.

Now, with a refresh for 2013 models, and a no-rest-until-we-achieve-world-domination attitude, Hyundai has pretty much addressed those issues. It?s also added direct fuel injection to the 3.8-litre V6 and given the 2.0T turbo-four a major shot in the arm. I didn?t initially ask for more power, but hey, if they?re offering. . .

Now the V6 kicks out 348 hp (up 42 hp) and the 2.0-litre four with its larger twin-scroll turbo sees a 30 per cent jump in power to 274 hp, with 275 lbs.-ft. of torque on tap at 2000 r.p.m. In a clever move, Hyundai says both engines will run on regular gas if you don?t mind a marginal drop in power and torque.

The V6 and I4 Coupes now share two transmissions ? the base six-speed manual that has an improved shift action, and an optional $1,800 Hyundai-developed smooth 8-speed auto with paddle shifters.

Externally, the 2013 Coupe gets a bold black grille, new design alloys, reformed hood with faux intakes, and LED tail lights. It works a treat, giving this handsome Korean 2+2 an extra dose of attitude.

Inside, the good news continues with more soft-touch surfaces, better padding on the door armrest and a handsome redesign of the centre stack that now incorporates a trio of performance gauges (oil temperature, fuel economy, and either boost pressure or torque output, depending on the model). It feels richer inside and thankfully Hyundai has stepped away from its usual radical console design, giving the Coupe?s cabin a more mature ambience.

The price for the well-equipped base 2.0T with six-speed manual jumps $1,800 to $26,449. The 3.8 comes only in premium GT trim and sees a $500 increase to $36,999.

I spent the better part of the day driving the new 2.0T R-Spec model, which is geared for the young enthusiast on a budget. While you don?t get a sunroof or auto climate control in this $28,799 scrapper, all the important bits are present: staggered 19-inch alloys with performance rubber, Brembo brakes, GT suspension, sport seats and a limited slip differential. The R-Spec can only be had with the manual gearbox.

If you think this is a recipe for driving fun, you?d be correct. The 274 hp turbo four has a lot more punch than last year?s car, and it makes a satisfying snarl when you lean on it. Yes, there?s still a bit of turbo lag and the shift throws are a little long, but the chassis is brilliant. It feels more exploitable with the new intermediate stability control setting that allows you to swing graceful arcs with the coupe?s fetching derri?re. Progressive and manageable breakaway is here for the taking.

The damping and spring rates have been retuned, eradicating the flinty harshness of the old car. Fortunately, Hyundai has stuck with hydraulic steering here, making for a well-weighted and communicative helm. The R-Spec?s fabric sport seats with leather side bolsters kept me and my driving partner in place while we coursed through the lovely winding roads up to Mount Charleston.

The back seats are usable for average-sized adults, but why, oh why won?t the front seats return the rake you have so carefully selected after being flipped forward to allow back seat access? Aren?t we beyond this in 2012?

At the private Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch about 80 kilometres from Sin City, we got to sinfully thrash these cars on the sweeping road course and a wet auto-cross circuit.

The V6 GT seemed happiest on the big track, with its sharper and more linear throttle response, whereas the 2.0T with its lighter front end and less power consistently turned in the fastest times at the autocross. It?s easy to find a rhythm in these coupes. They are a true hoot on the track, showing no vices or nasty surprises when exploring the limits.

As far as aural pleasures go, the 3.8L V6 wins the prize with its throaty wail. The underhood ductwork that pipes some intake sound into the cabin helps it along.

With its newfound gusto, the 3.8 GT now competes directly with the $40,978 Nissan 370Z, and while not as hard core as the Nissan, the Hyundai is considerably more refined and a much easier car to live with day-to-day. Same deal when looking at the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger.

The 2.0T Coupe sees two fresh opponents in the upcoming rear-drive Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, but the Hyundai soundly trounces this 200-hp naturally-aspirated pair on power and torque. And possibly on price.

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is the best selling car in its class, and now with ramped-up power, sophistication and a more exploitable chassis, expect this trend to continue.

Travel was provided to freelance reviewer Peter Bleakney by the auto maker.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec/ 3.8 V6 GT

PRICE: (base) $28,799/$36,999

ENGINE: 2.0L turbo four/ 3.8L direct-injection V6

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (L/100km) city 10.0, hwy 6.6/ city 11.5, hwy 7.3

POWER: 274 hp, 275 lbs.-ft,/ 358 hp, 295 lbs.-ft.

COMPETITION: Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Nissan 370Z, Infiniti G37, BMW 1 Series, Scion FR-S. Subaru BRZ

WHAT?S BEST: More power and refinement, engaging rear-drive chassis.

WHAT?S WORST: Front seats don?t retain rake when tipped forward.

WHAT?S INTERESTING: Coupe?s colour palette is named after famous racetracks.

  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe CHARGES MAY APPLY. On 2012-02-21,at 7:34 PM Peter Bleakney ( Subject: 2012 Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec pix 5,6 Bleakney Peter Bleakney h 905-465-2047 c 416-268-7906 2012 Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec Peter Bleakney photo
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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