In many ways, the Genesis Coupe 3.8 is a poor man's Infiniti G37 coupe (which itself is a poor man's BMW 335i coupe). For 2013, the Genesis Coupe saw a raft of both aesthetic and mechanical updates. While the wide visage is one that only a mother could love and the revised center stack seems to take a page from Hyundai's history book -hello, gauges from the 2007 Tiburon - the updates LED taillights are striking. Equally as striking is the revised V-6, which now has direct-injection and, more importantly, an induction tube that pipes the sonorous exhaust note directly into the cabin. The V-6 sounds best under light to moderate throttle, making a sweet noise that falls somewhere between BMW's inline-six and the Nissan/Infiniti VQ-series V-6. However, put your foot into it and let the revs climb over about 3500 rpm and the Hyundai's engine reveals the fact that it is not nearly as refined as the two luxury brands. That said, our loaded test example costs $35,230 where the base versions of the BMW 328i coupe and Infiniti G37 coupe start at $39,595 and $38,695, respectively.
While the Genesis may not trump the BMW or Infiniti in refinement, it does beat the other two with its slick automatic transmission. Hyundai's new eight-speed automatic shifts so seamlessly and instantly you would be forgiven for thinking that it's a dual-clutch setup. (The giveaway is that it doesn't blip the throttle on downshifts.) Despite having both sport and manual modes, I found that the eight-speed was best left in plain old "D" - its smooth and responsive operation reminded me of another eight-speed: that in the Lexus IS F. With names like BMW, Infiniti, and Lexus being bandied about when talking about the Genesis Coupe, it seems that Hyundai may have met its mark. Now if it could only get the styling down...
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor
The original Genesis coupe was a better idea than it was a car. Hyundai received -- and deserved -- and lot of credit for building an inexpensive, stylish, rear-wheel-drive car with lots of available power. But the actual experience behind the wheel often found the coupe to be less than the sum of its parts. The steering was too heavy, the interior materials below par, and the ride quality punishing without an obvious handling payoff. It's the small details that make a sports car brilliant, and Hyundai clearly did not know how to address them.
Happily, it's the small details that make the refreshed Genesis coupe much more rewarding. The headline change is more power for both the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3.8-liter V-6 we've driven here, but I'm more appreciative of the resonance tube that sends some engine howl into the cabin. Or the soft leather that now wraps the steering wheel versus the old car's rock hard, plastick-y material. Heck, I even like the new analog gauges on the center console.
The coupe's 348 hp made easy work of the straights at Gingerman Raceway, where we had a recent track day, and its suspension, though still too stiff on the street, at least paid off with excellent body control in the turns. I also like how predictable the Genesis is at the limit. Some of that predictability is due to understeer and an overprotective stability control system (more on the latter in a bit), but for relatively inexperienced drivers, it's nice not to worry constantly that the car's back end is going to snap around.
There are still some details that miss the mark. For instance, those cool analog gauges I mentioned are utterly useless -- what sports car driver wants to monitor their instant fuel economy? And what's the purpose of looking down to see how much torque you're delivering at any particular moment? I recognize there's room for some frivolity and cheekiness with secondary gauges -- the Nissan GT-R has made an art form of this -- but these just seem like Hyundai designers had no idea what sort of information drivers want. The more substantive issue is with the stability control, which intrudes early and often and, worse, cuts power for several seconds after its initial intervention. Some might argue that's not an issue so long as it can be disabled -- and it can be in the Genesis -- but I don't think I'm alone in wanting the safety net of a stability control system even on the track. What's needed here is an intermediary sport mode that allows aggressive driving but still intervenes to prevent the total loss of control.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
The Genesis coupe has been facelifted for 2013, with a wider opening on the grille and other minor enhancements that give it a more aggressive look and improvements to the interior styling. What hasn't changed is how much different the Genesis coupe looks and drives from the Genesis sedan. Where the sedan is more about luxury and refinement, the coupe is sharp-edged and sporty. In fact, it's a mystery why they even wear the same nameplate, because other than the 3.8-liter V-6, they have very little in common, from different steering wheels to center consoles to window switch placement.
The thing I most remembered from the last time couple times I drove a Genesis coupe was its stiff-legged sport suspension. The suspension has been recalibrated for 2013 to match the new powertrains (more powerful V-6, eight-speed automatic), and it did seem somewhat less unyielding than in previous coupes, however I didn't get the chance to test it our where it would really show to its best advantage. Unluckily for me, when I got into the Genesis coupe at Gingerman Raceway to run a few laps, I was informed that the transmission was acting up and that the car needed to cool down for a while before it could go back out on the track. I had to leave shortly thereafter and never did get a chance to drive it on the track. Maybe next time.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor