2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8GT: showing teeth

It was obvious that Hyundai meant business when they launched the 2010 Genesis Coupe. With rear-wheel drive and up to 306 horsepower, it had the potential to rival a whole bunch of sports cars. The 2013 version is even better.

What's amazing about the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is that its size, drivetrains and pricing makes it a threat to every coupe under 40 grand. That includes the Honda Accord Coupe, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins, the Nissan 370Z as well as the V6-powered versions of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

As if the Genesis Coupe wasn't good enough, Hyundai blessed it with a round of improvements that includes very impressive power increases for both engines.

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Your choice: lots of power, or plenty of power

The turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder now produces 274 horsepower as well as 275 lb-ft of torque at a low 2,000 rpm. For many sports-car enthusiasts, that's more than enough, and 64 hp more than last year's model.

Our test car, however, was equipped with the 3.8L V6 that adds direct injection for 348 hp and 295 lb-ft. All this muscle understandably makes the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe a very fast car, and it actually outmuscles all of the rivals mentioned above. The power output doesn't tell the whole story, though; the 3.8-litre V6 sounds downright mean at full throttle. Not bad for a Korean car.

Both engines are matched to a six-speed manual, while a new eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available. Our advice after our drive at this year's IMPA Test Days in the Catskills region of New York: get the manual. While the automatic works well, it doesn't seem well suited to the V6's aggressive character, and doesn't give the engine a chance to express itself as much as it would like. On the other hand, the manual gearbox which we sampled last summer when the 2013 edition was launched, while an improvement over previous model years, is still fussy when trying to engage reverse.

Put it on a track

The Genesis Coupe feels right at home on a closed circuit, and for beginner race-car drivers, it represents a solid base for gaining experience behind the wheel.

However, the Hyundai clearly doesn't offer the pure handling characteristics of the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. The Genesis is bigger, heavier and exhibits a little more body roll. The Genesis Coupe is fun to fling around on a track, and the V6 makes it even better because there's no turbo lag like the 2.0L engine has, so power delivery comes on more quickly, and more ferociously. Again, the manual gearbox here is a must.

The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe's hydraulic power steering was recalibrated for better steering feel during spirited driving. In addition, the car's electronic stability control system gets an improvement as well, because it now includes an intermediate mode that allows some wheel slippage. On a track, that's good, because the normal setting is way too overprotective, stepping in at the slightest chirp of a wheel and bogging down engine power.

Revised look and tons of features

The Genesis Coupe gets a more aggressive front end to match the higher performance levels. It notably received fake hood vents, a wider grille opening and LED daytime running lights; whether it looks better or worse than the 2010-to-2012 version is arguable, as I've heard both positive and negative comments.

What hasn't changed for 2013 is the substantial list of features for the asking price. Among other things, you get 19-inch alloys, HID headlights, a power sunroof, touchscreen navigation, climate control, a 10-speaker Infinity stereo with USB port and Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, leather upholstery and an intelligent key. All that for $37K, or $38,799 when opting for the automatic gearbox.

That undercuts a Nissan 370Z and offers a back seat, too. If you're interested in Detroit iron, though, a loaded V6 Mustang can cost less.

The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe has a lot to offer for performance enthusiasts, which can be surprising for a Korean brand. However, this is the real deal; it's a sport coupe that handles very well, that accelerates very quickly and that pretty much includes all the features as well as the refined ride of a true grand tourer. That this car poses a threat to every other sub-$40K sport coupe is no surprise, actually.


3/5: Installing a child seat in the Genesis Coupe should be relatively simple, but climbing in and out to strap the children in will get complicated. The trunk is fairly roomy to accommodate the baby stroller, and the wide opening helps, too.

In collaboration with Canadian Tire.


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