The budget sports car wars are starting to heat up again... From Japan, we have the new Nissan Z, Honda Civic Si, Mazdaspeed3, Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Eclipse. The Camaro and Mustang have both revitalized and reinvigorated the American muscle car craze. And now, from South Korea, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is fast making a name for itself. I had an opportunity to test drive the 2.0T Track model for a week and came away both thoroughly impressed and somewhat disappointed.
The Genesis Coupe has a great look with sleek lines and aggressive stance. The red Brembo brake calipers peaking out behind the 19-inch wheels immediately let you know this thing means business. And the aesthetic feast continues on the interior with attractive seating and trim and a cockpit which provides easy acclimation.
It has all of the features and functionality someone would want from a late model sports car including full power accessories, sun roof, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, keyless entry, start/stop ignition, automatic headlamps as well as fog-lights. The 360W Infinity audio system has 10 speakers and is very easy to operate. Strangely enough, however, it just doesn't have much fidelity or power and sounds similar to a factory system from the 90s.
The engine is a turbocharged 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine good for 210 hp and 223 ft-lbs of torque, controlled via a six-speed manual that delivers power to the rear-wheels. This sounds like the perfect formula for exhilaration but here's where things take a turn. This engine is just not that powerful. And the transmission is a little antagonistic. Unfortunately, you spend too much time trying to make sure you keep it happy and less time on actually driving.
But that said, Hyundai has still managed to create a great car that provides a lot of fun, and you can get enough out of the engine to keep things exciting. In fact, for typical city driving, this thing is a blast. It's rev happy and just having rear-wheel drive and a 6-speed gearbox makes you feel like you are doing big things.
Besides the criticism of the engine and transmission, the Track edition lives up to its potential. Body roll is absent, there is no perceptible under- or over-steer and the suspension is tight and stable. The brakes are excellent and there is very little fade, even after they have heated up.
So, the long and the short of it is that this really is a solid sports car. It does have some things which detract from its appeal but overall it's a solid offering. The real beauty of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T Track is its tuning potential. Its four-banger engine is ripe for an ECU reflash, bigger turbos and a host of other performance mods. The car looks and handles great but could use just a little more power and a few gearbox tweaks.
The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a rear-wheel drive sports coupe from Hyundai Motor Company, released on October 13, 2008 for the Korean market. It is Hyundai's first rear-wheel drive sports coupe, and shares its basic platform with the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan.
The Genesis Coupe arrived in United States dealerships on February 26, 2009 as a 2010 model. Hyundai USA acting President and CEO John Krafcik has described the Genesis Coupe as being designed "...to deliver a driving experience that challenges cars like Infiniti G37." Hyundai has stated the Genesis Coupe is not a successor to the Hyundai Tiburon. Genesis Coupe is another model totally apart from Tiburon. According to Korean newspaper Autotimes, Hyundai is also ready to release the new Tiburon, which has a 1.6 L/2.0 L Turbo Engine.