Hyundai seems to take pleasure in changing people’s expectations of what its brand can do.
|Engine: 3.8-liter V6 makes 348-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: six-speed manual, eight-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, 19 mpg combined.
Price: Starts at $30,245. Vehicle as tested cost $34,295
For example, the Genesis sedan and Equus prove that it can sell premium cars without such a premium price. And with its six-cylinder, rear-wheel drive Genesis Coupe, the company is showing us what kind of sports car you can get below $35,000.
While the company is known for excellent mainstream cars like the compact Elantra and mid-size Sonata, the top-of-the-line Hyundai Genesis Coupe V6 Ultimate shows that Hyundai can compete in the popularity contest that is the sports-car segment.
Aggressive Exterior Shines
If you’re still having trouble getting over the fact that Hyundai offers a solid sports car, it’s a good thing that the Genesis is far from an eye-sore. The refresh that the coupe received in 2013 is still looking sharp and the aggressive front fascia gives it a personality that’s far removed from anything else in the Hyundai lineup.
The wedge-like profile gives the car an aggressive stance 19-inch alloys included with the Ultimate package certainly don’t hurt. Peek behind the spokes of those wheels and you’ll see bright red, Brembo brake calipers that hint at the cars sporty character, while the rear spoiler – standard on “Ultimate models – helps complete the “race-ready” look.
If you’re a fan of the Genesis Coupe, you might haven noticed that something about the rear end looks a little off. That’s because the car I tested came with a dealer-installed cat-back exhaust offered to Canadians, but not in the U.S. It probably adds marginally to the performance, but the only noticeable changes are a different looking pipe poking out the back and a louder exhaust note.
Under the Hood
That’s fine becuase the Genesis Coupe has a potent six-cylinder engine that makes 348 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine responds to each poke of the throttle with plenty of power for straight-line acceleration. Paired to this engine is a choice of two transmissions: a six-speed manual, or an eight-speed automatic.
I drove the manual and regret to report that it’s nothing more than average. Shifting is imprecise, sluggish and the clutch has a touchy engagement point that can be difficult to cope with at first.
It’s a good thing that the engine makes up for the disappointing transmission. Passing is possible in any gear and stepping on the gas is intoxicatingly fun. That sort of driving comes at a price, bit it might not be as steep as you think. The Hyundai is supposed to get 16 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. I averaged 19.5 MPG or about half a mpg better than the official estimates in mixed driving.
The leather-trimmed interior of the fully loaded Genesis Coupe I drove is a perfectly fine place to be, but there are certain aspects that might disappoint you. For starters drivers over six-feet tall may be forced to change their usual driving position and recline more than usual in order to fit because the headroom is limited. While the overall interior design is OK, the performance dials on the center-stack that show instant torque and mpg are, frankly, useless. You can see fuel economy readouts easily (and safely) in the gauge cluster, while the torque meter is nothing more than something for your front seat passenger to stare at.
Beyond those minor criticisms, the Genesis is full of accommodating features. The navigation system and seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system is bright, responsive and easy to use. The car also features a rear-view camera and parking sensors that make pulling it into a tight space easy despite its heavily raked rear end.
A moon roof helps make the cabin feel airy despite the constrictive headroom and the back seats are usable… in a pinch. With 10 cubic feet of storage, the trunk space isn’t too bad either.
Despite having a few weaknesses, the Genesis pulls it all together on the road. The suspension provides excellent feedback without beating you up over rough pavement and those bright-red Brembo brakes can bring the Genesis to a stop in a hurry. On the other hand, the speed-sensitive hydraulic assisted steering isn’t as engaging and makes this car feel more like a loose coupe that’s skews towards grand touring.
We also had our resident hot-shoe David Pratte test a similar Genesis Coupe V6 to see how well it stacks up to the other performance vehicles on the AutoGuide.com test track.
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Starting at $30,245 the six-cylinder Genesis Coupe R-Spec is able to satisfy a number of cravings: performance, features and style. For $34,295, the Ultimate model ups the ante with a few more convenience and comfort features and improves handling and braking.
It’s not a hard-edged sports car, but it is a serious performance machine with an excellent list of features. If all you’re looking for is straight-line acceleration and a hint of the handling you would get in a more expensive sports car, you will love theV6 Genesis Coupe. Just don’t set your expectations in the stars.