Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Vince Pornelos | posted February 18, 2013 17:47
Power To The People
Four years ago, Hyundai underwent a revolution. The carmaker has been making strong progress with their vehicles in the market, showing us that they should no longer be known only for their econoboxes, SUVs and their vans.
They showed us they can make real sports cars, and it came in the form of the Genesis Coupe.
Nearly overnight, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe became the best selling sportscar in the country, attracting customers from all over to it's sharp looks, straightline performance, handling and outstanding pricing.
Now they've got a new version, the first major update of the Genesis Coupe. Let's see how it gets on.
It's obvious that the Genesis Coupe has changed. The front end is not as tapered forward as before, but it's definitely far busier than ever; in fact, it looks like it just left a custom auto shop rather than a production car factory. The new GenCoupe features heavily detailed, smoked headlamps, reshaped foglamps with a LED strip (you should see it in the dark) and a dominating hexagonal grille.
The hood receives a power bulge along with two vents; faux, of course. Not much has changed towards the side, except for a set of rather wicked looking rims. The rear end hasn't changed much too, but those new taillamps do look great. Overall, it's a far more aggressively designed machine, and definitely has its visual impact cranked all the way up to 11.
Not only has the exterior been modified, they gave the interior a major makeover too. Sitting in the driver's seat, the first thing I notice is the dash. Hyundai have certainly been busy with it, particularly on the center console, now redesigned to be more in keeping with newer models like the Sonata and Santa Fe. The details have definitely improved, like a reworked gauge cluster, piano black accents and brushed metal panels, as well as a revised shifter.
Gripping the steering wheel, the rim definitely feels much better to the touch, and the buttons have improved in quality. Gone were the rather toy-ish paddles of old in favor of an updated design, which frankly, feel much better as well. A nifty touch is the seatbelt arm bringing your primary safety device within easy reach compared to before, and makes driving the Genesis Coupe a bit more comfortable. I particularly like the new touches like the triple gauge cluster (Acceleration %, Torque and Oil Temperature), though they're a bit hard to spot for the driver. It's cool and functions, but not quite functional. Nevertheless, Hyundai have stepped up the Genesis Coupe's cabin by a mile.
Like the variant of the Genesis Coupe we drove before, this new one features the same 3.8 liter Lambda V6 engine, producing 303 horsepower as well as a whopping 361 newton meters of torque. I'm actually surprised Hyundai Philippines didn't bring in the more powerful direct injection update to the 3.8 liter V6 available in other markets that produces 347 horsepower, but I'm not complaining. After all, 303 is no joke. What they did bring in is the update to the transmission, as they threw out the old 6 speed auto in favor of a better 8 speed auto box.
In town, the Genesis Coupe's new transmission is smooth. Silky smooth, actually. But I can't say the same for the ride. That was already a given with any sports or supercar, as the suspension's settings are best suited for smooth expressways rather than battered, corrugated or pockmarked city streets. Once out of the city, however, you'll love it.
On the highway, the new Genesis Coupe is simple breathtaking. Floor the throttle and the car will lean back, sending all that torque and power to the rear wheels. With the driver aids off, it will light up its tires without question everytime you go all hooligan with the accelerator. 100 km/h is dispatched in just 6.9 seconds. You can easily go way, way past 200 km/h if you wish... though do so at your own risk.
On switchbacks and mountain passes, the Genesis Coupe will definitely not disappoint. The sport tuned suspension has been engineered to deliver the driving dynamics you demand, and the power as well as the better 8-speed auto (technically, it's a 6-speed automatic gearbox with two overdrives) will ensure you can rocket out of the turn at will. The driver aids like the ESP and the TCS have a tendency to be overeager, kicking in quite early to keep the tail in line. Turn it off at your own risk, but take note that 303 horsepower is no laughing matter, and it's best that you undergo training to keep all those horses under control.
I'm sure there's one burning question on your mind: how does it compare to the Toyota 86? It's a tricky question to answer, simply because they are two very different cars aimed at two very different driving styles. In a nutshell, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8L V6 8AT is more of a sporty grand tourer while the Toyota 86 is a lightweight sportscar through and through. And yes, there's a big difference.
You see, while the 86 is the hot car of the moment, the way it is equipped, designed and priced has limited it in several ways; particularly in terms of features, size and ultimate performance. The Genesis Coupe, on the other hand, has many of the luxuries expected of a car in this price range like leather, a sun roof, proper seating for four persons, power seats, cruise control and the like, making the 86 seem a bit spartan by comparison. Yes, the 86 will most likely edge out a lead over the Genesis on a downhill mountain pass, but the big power of the Hyundai will overcome the Toyota once the road straightens out. No, there really is no replacement for displacement.
It's not perfect, but simply put, the Genesis Coupe is a whole lot of car for PhP 1,988,000.