2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Has Hyundai done enough to stay ahead of the new challenger from Japan?

By Shahzad Sheikh

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Hyundai was here first. Let’s be honest. If you’re talking about cheap rear-wheel drive coupes with a propensity to drift, the sports car of the moment, the Toyota 86, would probably come straight to mind. In fact the Toyota, and its sibling the Subaru BRZ, are actually muscling in and starting a turf war.

Hyundai launched the Genesis Coupe over four years ago, endowing it for our market with a 300bhp V6 engine from the get-go (it was also available with a 210bhp four-cylinder in some markets), and on the other side of the Atlantic, sideways-merchants immediately latched onto its potential and it even took part in the US F1 Drift Championship.

When I first drove the original version, its dynamic capacity was obvious, but there were a couple of hiccups. And they were primarily aesthetic. Firstly I didn’t like its styling, and considering it wore a Genesis badge – taken from Hyundai’s junior executive saloon, which had surprised with its top-notch cabin presentation for the money – the interior quality was considerably off what might have been expected.

It also felt a little too insubstantial, even as a driver’s tool despite the grunt on hand. Fast-forward to the 2013 Facelift you see on these pages and Hyundai has clearly been paying heed to the criticisms. Model year changes include a new front end, more in-line with the styling themes of the rest of the rather good-looking Hyundai range, a hefty sprinkling of investment on the cabin and a power increase through direct injection to 348bhp.

Err… actually, that power increase is for other markets. For the time being the GCC spec cars are making do with the same 300bhp unit at the previous car. Fortunately there’s also a new eight-speed gearbox which we do get, plus revisions to the suspension and steering.

Improvements inside and out

So, has it done enough to stay ahead of the new upstart rival?

Well it’s certainly matured into a rather attractive coupe, with that meaty restyle and imposing grille. The side-profile however is unchanged, and I always found that kink just behind the door panel in the rear side-glass a bit awkward, and I still do, but it’s a matter of taste. The 86 is comparatively very well resolved in my opinion.

Inside the improvement is more obvious, the quality of materials has been upgraded and there’s a couple of neat touches including the inexplicably cool but entirely unusable torque and accelerometer dials. Some of the plastics though are still a little unbecoming of the ‘Genesis’ badge, and the interior still falls a bit short of being worthy enough to compare with the very well-appointed saloon version. Nonetheless it feels a step up from the 86 and is generously kitted out.

But why no reverse camera on this level of spec? Radio reception isn’t the best, but once Blueteeth streaming, the sound improves dramatically. Plus it’s loaded with goodies including smart key, six airbags, leather upholstery, electrically-adjustable drivers seat, paddle shifts for the tranny, reversing sensors, electric mirrors, climate control, cruise control, sunroof, steering wheel-mounted remote buttons and of course a pair of rear seats. And unlike the 86, you can just about install a couple of near-adults in the back with their legs intact. Luggage space too, is more generous.

V6 Power

Of course this car’s biggest trump card is under the bonnet, even without the extra horses. And all those ratios make the torque more accessible and should improve economy. There’s certainly enough potency to get this thing sideways at every opportunity, moreso than the 86 (providing you have the traction control off, of course) even in this hot sticky weather. And the slide is easy to catch too, so it doesn’t take much to appreciate why it is popular with drifters.

With a 0-100kph time of 6.5 seconds and top speed limited to 240kph this is certifiably a quick car and it feels it. Not much this side of a supercar will embarrass the driver of a Genesis Coupe away from the traffic lights, and needless to say these figures easily best the 86 by some margin.

The brakes are good and the handling is faithful – the improved steering feels quicker and more responsive, although it’s overly light in regular use, and could be more feelsome. Turn-in is eager enough and there’s a natural neutral-to-oversteer attitude about the car. The ride is smooth enough, but a little jittery on rougher roads and not quite as taught and composed when cornering hard as you’d expect. Oddly enough, the Genesis Coupe seems to go from hoon-happy to sensible grand tourer, but completely bypassing the ‘sports car’ bit in the middle.

Verdict

On paper, with just one well-equipped model on offer, priced just below the top end of the 86 range, this car seems to have everything it would take to put that smart-alec whizz kid from Japan firmly in its place.

It’s more powerful, quicker, boasts a bigger cabin, more cargo space, comfier ride, and better kit. And it ain’t a bad looker either. However as a pure drivers tool it doesn’t seem as well defined or as sharp as the 86, and despite the makeover, there’s also a sense that it’s beginning to feel its age in terms of technical development.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a great car, but to find out whether it’s good enough to brush off the advances of the 86, would need a back-to-back twin test, so we’ll reserve judgement on that for now. As it stands the choice is clear, for the same sort of money get the Genesis Coupe if you want a lusty long-legged cruiser with a freaky rubber-burning streak in its nature. But if you value precision over performance, go for the Toyobaru.

Specs
Price: AED123,000 ($33,400)
Engine: 3.8-litre V6, 300bhp @ 6300rpm, 266lb ft @ 4700rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 6.5 seconds, top speed 240kph
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1600kg

3 responses to “2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe”

  1. Siddharth says:

    Since when did Hyundai start putting Brembos and torque gauges on their cars?? Impressive!

  2. Nicki says:

    since 2013

  3. basil says:

    HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE 2.0 turbo not coming to middle east?

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