2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec Review

There are few better ways to build a brand than to deliver a model for enthusiasts. The R-Spec is just such a car.

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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec Review
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Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe has been a hit with enthusiasts since it first launched in 2009, and in order to give the aftermarket-tuner crowd even more reason to take a look at this car, Hyundai has introduced an R-Spec model that sheds some content—and therefore some weight—in the hopes of improving performance and giving tuners a better canvas to work with.

FAST FACTS

1. The R-Spec features the same core performance equipment as the 2.0T Track model but with non-essential equipment removed to reduce cost and weight.

2. Performance equipment includes 19-inch wheels and tires, Brembo brakes, an LSD, stiffer springs and shocks plus larger sway bars.

3. Pricing is set at $23,750, a $3,000 savings over the Track model.

4. For 2011 Hyundai has announced an R-Spec version of the 3.8L V6 model.

The starting point for the R-Spec is a pretty good one. Available on the 2.0T model, which comes with a 210-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, the R-Spec offers 19-inch alloy wheels, traction control, an antiskid system, high-performance Brembo brakes, a Torsen limited-slip differential, quick-ratio steering, and a lightweight spare tire and wheel assembly. The R-Spec also has a track-oriented suspension that includes higher-rate coil springs, higher-control shocks, a 25-millimeter front stabilizer bar, a 22-millimeter rear stabilizer bar, a front strut brace, plus front strut camber adjustment bolts. The only transmission available with the R-Spec is a 6-speed manual.

Despite its weight-saving mission, the R-Spec still has air conditioning, side-curtain airbags, remote keyless entry, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, an AM/FM/XM/MP3 audio system, projector beam headlights, an auxiliary jack, a USB port, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and lumbar support for the driver.

ON TRACK, PERFORMANCE INCREASE IS NEGLIGIBLE

We had the chance to drive the R-Spec model at Road America, as well as take a couple of spins on a short autocross course. When pressed, it doesn’t feel dramatically different from the 2.0T Track model, although it does seem to be a tick quicker. Expect a similar 0-60 mph time in the mid six-second range. But that’s somewhat irrelevant as straight-line performance is not what this car is all about.

Like the 2.0T Track, it handles corners sharply, rides stiffly (but not so harshly as to be punishing), and moves nimbly. It doesn’t have the extra power of the available V6, but it’s still pretty quick from a stop.

On the autocross the Genesis Coupe R-Spec feels at home, thanks to its athletic moves and strong low-end grunt. Unlike some other 2.0Ts, turbo lag seems non-existent on both the track and the autocross.

A particular bonus in this model are the Brembos, which instill plenty of confidence when stopping.

It’s tough to say whether the R-Spec is faster than a normal 2.0T Track without the aid of a stopwatch, but removing some features—and therefore, shaving weight—can’t hurt, and tuners will have a better starting point to work with on the R-Spec than they will with the 2.0T Track.

Plus, another big advantage is the $3,000 savings over the Track model – making this “tuner” car more easily affordable to its target audience. With pricing set at $23,750, it’s just $1,750 more than a base model.

What is clear is that the car is much more buttoned down than the inaugural 2009 model. Whether that’s a function of the decontented and sport-tuned R-Spec or simply the result of one full year in production, we’re not sure.

THANKFULLY, THE R-SPEC MODEL ISN’T TOO STRIPPED-DOWN

Perhaps the best part for future R-Spec owners is that the car isn’t as stripped down as it could be. In the past, other tuner models from other automakers have been sold sans radio, or without air conditioning, or minus other goodies. But the R-Spec offers more than enough creature comforts—it can be driven both on the track and to the track.

Hyundai is also promising 30-mpg on the highway, which seems like an achievable number if the car is driven gently. This, from a car that is able to reach a top speed of 137 mph, according to Hyundai.

We didn’t get any seat time on public roads, but based on past experiences with the Genesis Coupe, we’d expect the ride to be rough on broken pavement, and stiff even on the best pieces of asphalt. The Genesis Coupe makes no apologies for being a sports car, and the trade-off is a ride that can be a little on the harsh side. The sport suspension on the R-Spec means it’s likely to be even a little harder.

Otherwise, the R-Spec looks and acts mostly like the 2.0T Track. That means it could be a good sleeper at stoplights and on track days.

THE VERDICT

But really, the point of this car is not to be a sleeper, but rather, to be a guinea pig for whatever modifications weekend warriors can dream up. The fact that it’s not noticeably better or faster than the stock 2.0T Track—itself a performance-enhanced model—is also beside the point. Hyundai is hoping to get an invested, loyal following for a car that was created almost completely from whole cloth, and the R-Spec can go a long way towards that effort.

LOVE IT
  • Nimble handling
  • Doesn’t lose too many creature comforts
  • Feels at home on the track
  • A performance model with a budget price
LEAVE IT
  • Does lose some luxury features
  • Stiff ride

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