Over the past ten years or so, Hyundai have been proving they are a force to be reckoned with. Many nay-sayers thought Hyundai could never go up against sports cars like the iconic Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro – while at the same time taking on the likes of a Nissan 370Z, Infiniti G37 and Mazda RX-8 … well, it’s time to think again!
With the Genesis Coupe V-6 GT, Hyundai has hit the bulls-eye and anyone dismissing this as a Tiburon update with “all show and no go” – be warned – this is a serious sports car.
This week’s test drive is the all-singing-all-dancing 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT – but a quick look at the stats and details provided by Hyundai, shows that even in the 2.0 L Turbo version is a serious machine. While many manufacturers give you a basic car and then let you add packages and options while limiting what you can and can’t get, Hyundai’s marketing people apparently forgot to nickel and dime everybody and just stuffed every model with just about every feature available.
Picking up the key fob – it doesn’t come with a key – we went searching in the large parking lot for the Genesis Coupe. Would it be the Lime Green or the Lemon Yellow one? They are odd-looking colours, but just the kind my wife and I would choose if we were setting out to choose a car. As long as it’s not silver I’d be happy! There it was gleaming in the sun – Arrest-Me-Red (Tsukuba in Hyundai). Hmm not my first choice, but it really works for this car.
As usual, I didn’t get to drive it right away – my wife always grabs the new test cars first because most of the time that’s the only time she gets to drive it. I didn’t fight her on it ’cause this particular week I’d hurt my back and could hardly move – not a good week to have a manual transmission car! I jumped back into the RAV4 and we dropped it off at Toyota. When we got there she’s got this stupid grin on her face and she’s smiling from ear to ear.
Eyes as big as dinner plates, she tells me this car is awesome and I’m not going to get a chance to drive it this week. Uh oh – she’s never been this excited about a car since we drove the Dodge Charger Daytona 4 years ago!
Heading home, we jump onto Toronto’s congested highway system and make haste. On the plus side I got to spend almost 2 hours in the passenger seat and didn’t complain once about the comfort level. In fact when I finally got to drive the Genesis Coupe over the next couple of days, one thing that really impressed me was how comfortable the driver’s seat was too plus it has the added benefit of a lumbar adjustment – a hugely important feature when you’ve got a bad back.
The seats are perfectly sculpted with large side bolsters offering excellent lateral support for enthusiastic driving and just the right amount of firmness in the seat so that your bum doesn’t go numb after 30 minutes. The kidney and upper shoulder areas are perfectly bolstered for spirited driving and you definitely need it with this car!
The first opportunity I had to get behind the wheel of the Genesis Coupe, I really got to appreciate how amazing it is. Pushing the Start/Stop button.. nothing happens. “Clutch” says the wee woman. Depress the clutch, push the button, and the engine comes to life with a throaty growl. I look at the wife and she’s grinning and nodding her head. Where did she come from? My wife has turned into a gear head overnight thanks to this car.
I blip the throttle a couple of times. This is the sweetest sounding V-6 I’ve ever heard… it’s like a big V-8!
Depressing the heavy clutch again, I push the gear lever into first and gently release the clutch. The rear tires bite instantly – you can just feel the power ready to be unleashed if you decide to dump the clutch. This ain’t my dad’s Hyundai of old – that’s for sure!
Hitting the blacktop, I can’t get the gas/clutch/shifter combination working smoothly. Did I lose the ability to drive a manual after driving the past 5 weeks in an automatic? It turns out that the faster you drive and the higher the revs, the smoother this car climbs through the gears. So for smooth driving, every gear should be selected above 4,000rpm. But that means I have to drive faster right?
Yep, this car dictates that you must drive fast – it is NOT an option it’s in the rule book – and you must take 90-degree corners in second gear with the throttle very much closer to the floor than you would normally think to be safe.. look out pedestrians…. cross against the lights and you’ll be just another statistic.
To say it’s exhilarating to drive the Genesis Coupe would be a drastic understatement. Any opportunity or excuse to get behind the wheel and go somewhere – anywhere – and you’ll take it. And it’s not just the power and excitement – this car does everything right.
Take the climate control system for example. It’s probably my biggest beef with every car I drive – it is NEVER comfortable or easy to use…. until now. The Genesis Coupe is by far and away THE best unit I’ve ever encountered. In automatic, the cabin has a very gentle breeze flowing through it and it maintains the temperature absolutely spot on – no cool spots and no hot spots. On hot days, we just turned the fan speed up and didn’t even have to switch the air conditioning on.
Not once did it feel too stuffy or too cool. I would buy this car just for the HVAC system and consider everything else a bonus. I’m not kidding – I’ve driven cars from $10,000 to $130,000 and not one of them comes close to this one for perfection – we hardly made any adjustments from the moment we first got in.
Another great example of things done right is the Sat-Nav system. Standard on the GT and optional on the V-6 model, this system includes a 6.5-inch (16.5 cm) touch-screen that can also use voice-activation by a headliner-mounted microphone (it also includes Bluetooth streaming audio capability). My wife had a job to do that included driving to many of the wineries in Niagara-On-The-Lake to plot their coordinates (I know – tough job, but someone’s got to do it).
Unlike virtually all other in-car systems, the Hyundai unit allows the passenger to programme the destination and make changes while on the go. It also gives the driver enough warning to make the turn vocally and visually by splitting the screen to show you an enlarged area, just before the turn. After you’ve made the turn it reverts back to full-screen mode – very helpful.
The audio system is a wonderful 360-watt Infinity® AM/FM/XM/6-disc CD Changer/MP3 player with 10 speakers including DVC Subwoofer, and an 8-channel External Digital Amplifier. Plugging in an MP3 player is straightforward and you get the choice of an Auxiliary cable, USB or iPod.
Located in the centre armrest, the power outlet and audio jacks keep your chosen player out of sight. Once plugged in the in-dash unit brings up the song/artist/title information, and to change the song you simply touch the screen or use the steering wheel buttons. It can’t possibly be any better or simpler than this!
The system features 8GB of USB memory and plays compact discs, accesses digital music files employing Bluetooth streaming audio or allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs. Bluetooth streaming audio wirelessly streams music from your phone to the Navigation system.
Also with a Bluetooth-enabled phone one can look up a local restaurant and call for reservations before plotting the route. The system is also updateable via the USB port. I don’t remember ever having an in-dash Sat-Nav system that also incorporates a 6-disc changer – usually if you get the Sat-Nav you end up with a single-disc system.
Riding on a 2,820 mm wheelbase, the Genesis Coupe’s body shell is made with ultra-high-tensile steel, making it lighter than the Infiniti G37, and its chassis is also 24 percent stiffer in bending rigidity than the BMW E46 M3. Rear-wheel drive provides a 55:45 front/rear weight distribution.
The V6 engine uses an alloy block and cylinder heads for lighter weight and thermal efficiency and features timing chains with no scheduled maintenance. Seriously… no changing the belt or chain at 160,000kms.
Genesis Coupe’s sport-tuned suspension uses a MacPherson strut dual-link front suspension and a 5-link rear suspension setup. The front suspension is mounted to the body via a solid subframe which is lighter and stronger than a multi-piece component. To help reduce body roll and tune the Genesis Coupe’s at-the-limit handling for maximum predictability, 24mm diameter front and 19mm diameter rear stabilizer bars are used. The GT suspension features a stiffer front spring rate, stiffer rear spring rate and unique shock valving.
In the 0-100 km/h tests, I couldn’t get the Genesis Coupe to change smoothly on the one-to-two shift. As a result, the revs dropped from above 6,000 to 2,000 during the shift and all momentum was lost. I kept pushing through it and by the time I got to 100 km/h I was hitting the rev limiter and that pretty much ruined my runs.
The best I could do was 6.5 seconds to 100km/h. Hyundai claim it’s less than 6 seconds and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I hate to say it, but the automatic would probably yield the best times (unless you’re a race car driver).
Rear seat accommodation is for children. The coupe is an out and out 2+2 and shouldn’t be thought of any other way. Getting in and out was OK on the passenger side, but the driver’s side was a complete pain in the back – literally. Once back there, it wasn’t too bad for someone as short as me at 170 cm, but knee and foot space was extremely limited.
Headroom was virtually non-existent as my head was firm up against the rear window. All of this is a moot point however if the driver is any bigger than me, then you can consider the seat behind the driver to be useless for humans.
The boot or trunk is perfectly acceptable for a sports coupe with a very reasonable 332 litre capacity. The rear seat folds forward to allow longer items like skis to pass through into the cabin.
ALL Genesis Coupes come with the following standard features: 4 Wheel Disc Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD); 18-inch alloy wheels; Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS); Front Windshield Wiper De-icer; Electric Heated Exterior Mirrors; Advanced Front Airbags, Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags & Roof-Mounted Curtain Airbags (6) and Front Active Headrests. Trip Computer (with Range, Avg. Fuel Consumption, Avg. Speed, Elapse Time); Power Windows with Driver/Passenger Auto Up/Down; iPod and USB/Aux. Audio Input; Tilting Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel with Cruise and Audio Controls as well as Bluetooth Hands-free System.
The base model gets a 5-speed manual or an automatic transmission with lockup torque converter and steering wheel-mounted paddle-shift SHIFTRONIC® controls (not available with the 2.0 GT). The 3.8 L V-6 models get either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed ZF automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle-shift SHIFTRONIC® controls.
The 2.0 L GT model and V-6 models add: 19-inch wheels; Power Tilt / Slide Sunroof with Sunshade; Leather, Heated Front Seats, Xenon HID (High-Intensity Discharge) auto-leveling headlights and Torsen-type limited-slip differential.
The V-6 GT adds: Power driver’s seat, Heated driver and passenger seat, 360-watt AM/FM/XM/MP3/CD-changer Infinity® premium audio system with 10 speakers including DVC subwoofer, 8-channel external amplifier, and diversity antenna; the aforementioned braking and alloy wheels; Unique GT-calibrated suspension, higher-rate coil springs, higher-control shock absorbers, 25 mm front stabilizer bar, 22 mm rear stabilizer bar, strut brace, Front Suspension Strut Tower Bar, and Aluminum pedals; Electrochromic Auto-dimming Rear View Mirror w. Home Link® and Compass. A 6-speed ZF automatic with paddle shifter is the only option available ($1,800 Cdn) on the V-6 GT model.
The Standard wheel package on the GT is Bridgestone Potenza RE050A High-Performance Summer Tires (Front: 225/40VR19 89Y / Rear: 245/40VR19 94Y) and stopping power is supplied by Brembo® with 340 mm (13.4″) ventilated front rotors, 42 mm 4-piston fixed front calipers, and 330 mm (13.0″) ventilated rear rotors, 32 mm+28 mm 4-piston fixed rear calipers.
OMG – this is awesome! That pretty much sums up the Genesis Coupe V-6 GT. Before I got the car and read the press material I’d have considered it to be a Mustang competitor. However, Hyundai are aiming much higher and taking on the Infiniti G37 – that’s a bold statement to make, but I think Nissan/Infiniti should be very scared because they’ve done it.
Think about this cars replacement in four or five years… will the BMW M3 be the next one in the sights of this company? I spent an entire week trying to find a flaw in this car and couldn’t do it – other than the tiny glove box.
I’ve got a V-6 Mustang, Dodge Challenger R/T, Mazda RX-8 R3 and Nissan 370Z lined up for Road Tests in the coming weeks… stay tuned to see if I’m still as enamored with the Genesis Coupe GT in September – because this is the new benchmark for sports cars and the one all others have to beat this summer…
Comfy seats that keep you planted
Amazing audio system and Sat-Nav
The best climate control – bar none
A suspension that insists you push it farther and farther to its limit
Takes regular fuel!
Pretty good chance you’ll lose your driver’s license within a couple of months
The glove box is so small it’s useless – if you keep the owner’s manual in there – there’s no room for even one glove
Placement of the reverse gear (up to the left) is very annoying – too often R was selected instead of the intended 1!
Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, Infiniti G37, Nissan 370Z, Mazda RX-8
By The Numbers…
Please visit your local dealer for the latest prices and incentives.
For more information visit: www.Hyundai.ca
Powertrain: 3.8L CVVT DOHC V-6 Engine; 6-speed manual transmission; RWD
Horsepower (Kw): 306 (228) @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (N.m.): 266 (360) @ 4,700 rpm
0-100 kph: Under 6 seconds
Top Speed: 240 km/h
Curb Weight: 1,543 – 1,592 kg
Cargo Capacity: 332 litres
Towing capacity: N/A
Fuel Consumption: 87 Octane
City: 12.0 L/100 kms // Highway: 7.6 L/100 kms
I averaged 9.4 L/100 kms during aggressive combined driving and 11.5 during extremely aggressive driving.
Copyright © 2010 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text / Images: Iain Shankland
Also Published at: Automobilsport.com & Flagworld.com