2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT Road Test Review

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You really do have to admire Hyundai; the company recognized a need to change, and with a nimbleness rarely seen in the automotive industry, has remade its entire product line in the last few years. Hyundai has also developed strong competitors in segments where it previously had no players at all. Three such cases include the new Equus luxury sedan, the Genesis near luxury sedan, and the Genesis Coupe-Hyundai's first effort at a rear-wheel drive Grand Touring sports coupe.

Yes, the company offered a pocket GT car in the past called Tiburon, and while it was fun to toss the little shark around, there's only so much you can do with a front-drive platform, particularly if you're going up against cars like the Infiniti G37, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro. We do realize the G37 and the American pony cars are in different leagues. However, the beauty of the Genesis Coupe-particularly when equipped with the 306-horsepower 3.8-litre V6 in GT trim-is it's priced like the Americans while providing the more agile driving experience of the Japanese car.

And this is where the letters/comments are going to come rolling in telling us we don't know what we're talking about, the current Camaro and Mustang handle better than ever, have more power and yadah, yadah, yadah… WE know they handle better than ever, we know they're more powerful than ever, and we also know you have to buy the big V8 versions of those cars to truly appreciate their visceral nature. Not so the Hyundai, and this is where it gets a little messy. You see, the Hyundai only competes with those cars on price. In terms of the overall driving dynamic it's closer to the Infiniti.

Thing is the Infiniti is also luxury oriented and considerably more spendy than the Genesis Coupe. Which brings us to the genius of Hyundai. They give you the driving pleasure of the GT car, while beating the price of the pony cars to carve out a corner of the performance car market it can have all to itself. Because frankly, the psychology of anyone seriously considering a Camaro, Mustang, or a Challenger probably blinds them to the charms of the Hyundai.

Into that corner of the market, Hyundai has introduced a handsome coupe with sleek styling-derivative of nothing else (OK, well, maybe a hint of the Pininfarina Ferraris). The 306-horsepower 3.8-litre V6 propels the car strongly and confidently, while winding relatively freely and generating some delightfully adrenalin-inducing noises. Maximum horsepower is made at 6,300 rpm, while the 266 ft-lbs of maximum torque are generated at 4,700 rpm. We consistently got to 100km/h in the six-second range and Hyundai limits top speed to 240 km/h (149 mph).

Other than the addition of touch-screen navigation, the GT's upgrades are all performance oriented and include stiffer springs and shocks, a strut tower bar, as well as Brembo four-piston brake calipers chomping into 13.4-inch ventilated rotors up front; 13-inch in the rear. A staggered tire and wheel set (225/40-19s in front and 245/40-19 in the rear), and a limited-slip differential speak to the sincerity with which Hyundai has approached the performance potential of the car. The Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT is also available with your choice of a six-speed manual, or a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.

Underway, the Coupe is reassuringly stable at a sporting pace, and bites nicely into corners. Additionally, the engine has enough power to induce oversteer, so the Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT can rotate in corners and drift through them as well.

Our test car featured the six-speed manual, and while we enjoyed the smooth clutch take-up and the ease with which the Genesis Coupe launched, we found the shift action could be a bit better calibrated. Additionally, the steering feel of the car was a tad off in terms of the sharpness we've experienced in other cars of this nature. However, it wasn't enough to make us come away going this SUCKS. It was more like observation of an opportunity for improvement.

In the corners, the 3.8 GT demonstrated nice balance; a propensity to grip really well and again, you can kick the back end around with the throttle, so it's a lot of fun. You do pay for that fun in the form of a stiffer ride around town however. Those looking for a more compliant ride-with the V6 engine-might consider the base 3.8 version of the 2+2 Hyundai.

Either way, you'll find the Genesis Coupe nicely equipped, engaging to drive and affordably priced compared to its competition. Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT pricing starts at $36,499 with the six-speed manual and $38,299 with the automatic.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Hyundai, 2011, Genesis Coupe, $30,000 - $39,999,

Organizations: Hyundai

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