The bigger engine transforms this sexy coupe from Korea
Since its introduction, I have always had a soft spot for the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Despite sharing its name with a luxurious sedan, it’s anything but that. Two doors, a rear-wheel-drive configuration, and a turbocharged engine coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission come together to make it one of the best fun buys on the market. Unfortunately, I had a few issues with the 2.0T model. These issues are largely caused by my expectations for the car being substantially different from what the car actually offers. Luckily for me, my friendly neighbourhood Hyundai communications rep is a proper car guy. He suggested I take an extended loan of the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT to see if I liked it any better.
I ended up not liking the car. In fact, I absolutely loved it. At just over the $35,000 mark loaded to the brim, there’s not much to dislike about the V6-powered Genesis. Its roaring 3.8L engine pumps out 348-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. An automatic transmission is available, but really, the beauty is in the 6-speed manual model. Not only are the numbers impressive, but Hyundai will fit your vehicle with a custom axle-back exhaust for about $800 that will make V8-powered Mustang and Camaro drivers jealous. No really; I was actually pulled over by a police officer in Toronto who merely was curious about what exhaust I had on the car, because he thought it sounded “heavenly”. I’ve been pulled over in fancy-schmancy sports cars countless times, and never before have I had an officer instruct me to “give it to ‘er good” as I took off from a traffic stop.
Okay, maybe I was expecting the 3.8 GT model to feel a little bit quicker, but this car is no slouch. Its handling and overall road feel outclasses the likes of the six-cylinder offerings from ‘Murica, and this motor is easily one of my favourite six-cylinder setups in the industry. The rocky relationship between the clutch and shifter in the 2.0T R-Spec models I’ve driven are what would put me off about the 4-cylinder Genesis models, but this issue is completely resolved in the V6 model. In no time I was rev-matching downshifts and bringing out the epic sounds of the Coupe; there was little to no learning curve with this gearbox.
Moving on to the interior; the Genesis 3.8 GT only comes one way. It comes with navigation, heated leather seats, a sunroof, and Bluetooth connectivity. There are a couple of areas where the materials look a tad low-rent, but for the most part, the car is immensely comfortable. The seats look and feel great, everything is reachable, and nothing comes as a surprise. Using my iPod Classic, the “Shuffle” feature had a mind of its own, but I wasn’t complaining since the sound from the Infinity speakers made up for it. The car could use a small subwoofer in the rear shelf, but the system does sound pretty good as-is. The navigation system is easy to use and, while I’d prefer if the screen wasn’t so high up, is much more responsive than others in the industry.
I became so enamoured with the Genesis Coupe over my test week that I affectionately named her Jenny. Jenny may have a little bit of a drinking problem (when driving spiritedly, I observed 12.9L/100km), but her figure and voice are so perfect you can’t help but succumb to her needs. The car can technically get away with regular fuel, but there is a noticeable decrease in engine performance when you do. I have two friends with V6 Genesis Coupes, and I’d have no hesitations uttering profanities at them if I ever witnessed them putting regular-grade gasoline into their cars. In fact, on a highway trip to the 1000 Islands and back, I kept it under 120 km/h and drove with a very light foot. I was surprised to actually observe an average of 8L/100km.
The handling of the Genesis Coupe is another place the car truly shines. I ensured that every single time I stepped into the car, I pushed and held the traction control button for approximately 3 seconds, disabling all nanny systems. Not only are they intrusive, they prevent any sort of sideways fun. When turned off, the back end kicks out wonderfully and flawlessly, with the Brembo brakes ready to step in if things get a little bit too heated. This car is an absolute maniac, and it does nothing to hide this fact. The brakes have the perfect amount of bite without being too much.
I did have some gripes with this Coupe, but then again, doesn’t even the most perfect girl have her flaws? When the proprietary Hyundai iPod cable (required) is plugged in, the little cubby to put your mobile device cannot be closed. When open, it takes away from the striking lines of the dashboard. The Hyundai corporate navigation system does not allow addresses to manually be input while the car is in motion. I realize many manufacturers do this, but it means that if lost on a foreign highway, my passenger cannot fiddle with the system. It can become cumbersome to have to pull off the highway just for this reason. In the car’s defense, using voice control does allow you to enter destinations while driving, but it will take so long you may as well not bother. Lastly, for a car that sounds this unbelievable, the fake vents on the hood are a bit offensive. I mean, if they aren’t functional, why bother with them at all?
Hyundai’s strategy of offering cars in competitive packages as opposed to selling individual options is something that works well for me. I like the no-nonsense aspect of car buying, and I like having toys. I love the fact that a manual transmission is available on the top trim level, and that any cost-cutting measures are hidden away. Most of all, I like that this car appears just as at home on the long highway hauls as a grand tourer as it does tearing up the pavement on the track. Jenny was once the new kid on the block the bullies liked to pick on, but now her enemies better start cowering in fear.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT Gallery