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2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Track A/T: An unexpectedly good contender

More powerful engines, bolder styling demand serious attention


by: HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY - The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe wants to be the center of attention and deserves serious consideration.Is the 2013 Genesis Coupe too good to be true?

Reviewers are touting the latest version of Hyundai's sporty fastback as an alternative to a wide range of other performance-oriented vehicles. They include the back-to-basics Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins and the more powerful Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang.

Depending on how it's equipped, the newest Genesis Coupe can compete well against most of those cars. The base version is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four cylinder engine that cranks out 274 horsepower, far more than the 2.0-liter Boxer four found in the FS-R and BRZ. The optional 3.8-liter V6 cranks out 348 horsepower, more than the six cylinder engines available in the Camaro and Mustang.

Only the lack of a V8 option prevents the Genesis Coupe from going head-to-head with the most powerful Camaros and Mustangs. But with prices ranging from around $24,000 for the 2.0T base model to about $35,000 for the fully-loaded 3.8 Track model, it will undoubtedly appeal to many buyers.

Our test Genesis Coupe was the Track model. It came with the 3.8-liter V6 and all the performance hardware availlable on the R-Spec model, including 19-inch wheels with low-profile tires, Brembo brakes, a more firmly tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential, and front seats with leather bolsters and red cloth inserts. The 3.8 Track also includes xenon headlights and a rear spoiler.

On the road, the 2013 Genesis Coupe Track was a kick to drive — fast, precise and well-balanced. It was also comfortable and well-equipped, with the optional navigation system and Infinity stereo. Oddly, it has a guage in the center stack that supposedly shows the torque generated by the engine as the revs increase. It was hard to know how seriously to take it.

The only drawback was the eight-speed automatic transmission that came in our test car. Although it was a good transmission, the six-speed manual would have undoubtedly been even more fun.

Despite its strong points, our test car still fell short in a few areas. however.

While the styling is bold and aggressive, the new larger grill looks the goofy, oversized ones being phased out at Mazda. Although an improvement over the small grills that used to mar all Hyundai's, it is a little too cartoonish for such a serious car.

Shortcoming are also found in the interior. The basic design is good, with supportive front seats, easy to read gauges and a clean, logically arranged center controls. Outward visibility is surprisingly good for such a low car. But while the seats and steering wheel are are leather, everything else is covered with plastic. This includes the dash, where the plastic is styled to look like leather, and the upper door panels and the floor console. This might be acceptable in the base version, but it was too much plastic for our $35,000-plus test car.

The suspension also proved a little too stiff in some circumstances. While it worked when the car was driven aggressively, it disrupted the ride at slower speeds over rough surfaces from time to time. Many drivers may not mind, since the Genesis Coupe borders on being a genuine sports car. But it could prove annoying if the car is used daily. Then again, the Track model includes the stiffer R-Spec suspension, so other models might be easier to live with day in and day out.

And, of course, the rear seat is very small and hard to reach. But that's to be expected from the 2+2 design.

On the other hand, such quibbles seem small considering how far Hyundai has come with its sporty coupes. The original Scoupe, manufactured from 1990 to 1995, fell short on every level, despite the name being an amalgam of "sporty coupe." The Tiburon that replaced it in 1996 was a definate improvement, but still short of a genuine GT. The basic styling of the final version was carried over into the first generation Genesis Coupe in 2008, which may have confused some potential buyers at first. The constant improvements — including more powerful base and V6 engines this year — have set it apart from the earlier efforts by now.

Facts and figures (all models)

• Model tested: 2013 Genesis Coupe Track A/T.

• Manufacturer: Hyundai.

• Class: Sport coupe.

• Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel-drive.

• Style: Two-door, four passenger sedan.

• Engines: Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4 cylinder (274 hp, 275 lbs-ft); 3.8-liter V6 (348 hp, 295 lbs-ft).

• Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic with Sport shift paddles.

• EPA estimated city/highway/average mileage: (engine/transmission): 21/30/24 (2.0/manual); 20/31/24 (2.0/automatic); 18/27/21 (3.8/manual); 18/28/23 (3.8/automatic - as tested).

• Price: Beginning at approximately $24,000 ($35,230 as tested).