2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Bengt Halvorson, thecarconnection.com Modified: November 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm •  Published: November 24, 2012
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When the Hyundai Genesis Coupe was first rolled out three years ago, it was considered a pretty bold move. Not only did it mark Hyundai’s entrance into an area of the market that Japanese automakers had long since abandoned (rear-wheel-drive sport coupes); it was also part of Hyundai’s strategy to be seen as more than just a maker of sensible, high-value sedans and crossovers.

While the Genesis Coupe accomplished its mission in that respect—changing shoppers’ perception of Hyundai, and getting them a new foothold in the market—it was clearly in some respects a first effort and lacked the sort of precise feel and finely honed dynamics of some of the competition.

Enter the 2013 Genesis Coupe; while Hyundai’s calling it a mid-cycle refresh, the changes are extensive, including much stronger engines, a new eight-speed automatic transmission, retuned steering and suspension systems, all-new front styling, a new instrument panel, and an expanded feature set—plus improved materials and detailing inside and out. In short, it’s as if Hyundai is presenting a higher-resolution version of the previous Genesis Coupe.

‘Aggressive’ is a word that automakers tend to overuse in describing the styling of exteriors, but it's an appropriate descriptor here for the new Genesis Coupe. It’s not only been given an injection of extra power and performance but also a much bolder face, better detailing, and more of a premium sports-car look inside.

Overall, the new exterior looks smartly at home next to sedan models like the Elantra or Sonata—or even the new Veloster coupe—yet there's no mistaking that this is the assertive, slung-back profile of a rear-wheel-drive coupe.

The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe offers a layout—and focus—that’s relatively rare today, outside of pony cars or luxury sports cars; it’s a performance-focused, rear-wheel-drive coupe, offering a choice of turbocharged four-cylinder or naturally aspirated V-6 engines.

Both engines in the 2013 model are significantly stronger than those of last year’s model. The 2.0T engine—a 2.0-liter in-line four—now gets a twin-scroll turbocharger and larger intercooler, so that it makes 274 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, with peak torque reached at just 2,000 rpm, and a new 3.8-liter direct-injection V-6 in the 3.8 models makes 348 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. With either engine, you have a choice of a standard six-speed manual or Hyundai’s new eight-speed automatic, which includes paddle-shifters.

For those who've been around sporty cars for a long time, think about how classic Japanese sports-car models like the Nissan 240SX or Toyota Supra might be today, if still produced, and you won't be far off the mark for how the Genesis Coupe performs. And thankfully, very few of the front-wheel drive Hyundai driving characteristics carry over into the Genesis Coupe. Shift action is clean and precise, clutch takeup is neat (both are improved for 2013) and, most importantly, the steering is a tried-and-true hydraulic system, tuned just right. About our only gripe is that the automatic transmission feels a little too relaxed and doesn’t quite fit the rest of the car’s character. The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a sports coupe first and foremost, but it does take care of front-seat occupants remarkably well; and with a spacious trunk and a reasonably refined cabin experience—plus improved interior materials—it’s as good for long weekend hauls or the commute as it is for the racetrack. The exhaust note of the 3.8 has been made more urgent (and sonorous) with a soundbox—but, surprisingly, it’s only loud when accelerating hard. Hyundai claims that ride quality has improved with the suspension tweaks to the 2013 model, but we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve hard it out on some rougher surfaces. Even though prices have risen throughout the model line, the 2013 Genesis Coupe still offers a lot of bang for the buck. For just $25,125, you get Bluetooth, an iPod/USB interface, keyless entry, A/C, and a trip computer. Step up to the R-Spec—the model we had out on the track—and you get a track-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels on summer tires, Brembo brakes, a Torsen limi-slip, plus special badging and red-leather seat inserts, with a bottom-line price of just $27,375. Top 3.8 Grand Touring and Track models, as well as 2.0T Premium models, there's a seven-inch navigation system on offer; it includes the Blue Link suite of services, as well as HD Radio, XM NavTraffic, Bluetooth audio streaming, and integrated audio and climate controls.