Capsule Review 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Clifton writes:

“My friend at [Hyundai Motor Company] was as excited about having me sample the new Genesis Coupe as I was to slide behind the wheel. I finished my official Hyundai factory tour, stepped off the bus (within the plant confines) and there she was: the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Bewildered Korean tourists gawked as I was formally introduced to South Korea’s next big thing. They hope.

I’d taken the same tour a few months before. I’d had a private walkthrough of the world class Genesis plant (supposedly the first non-Korean to be through the factory) while the rear wheel-drive sedan was in being prepped for stateside export. That’s when I had my first glimpse of the sports coupe, as it drove passed our bus. I’d seen the concept, but up until this point, a production rear-wheel drive Tiburon replacement was just a rumor. My first thoughts were “Lexus/Infiniti love child.”

Although it’s based on the same BH platform (shortened) as its big brother Genesis, the coupe is made in a separate plant, alongside, believe it or not, the Santa Fe. (The extra capacity in the Genesis plant is reserved for the new up and coming Equus executive sedan.) My “friend” had always insisted that the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a “BIG” car, and it’s true.

We walked up to a sexy “Interlagos” yellow sports coupe, donned with the 2.0 Turbo badge (perhaps European spec, as this color is reserved for 3.8 track models in the U.S. according to sources). I was a little disappointed, wanting a taste of the 306 hp beast. But who was I to complain? Strings had already been pulled. The first thing I noticed were the proportions: taut with never before tried lines and wheels pushed to the corners.

The first thing I noticed were the front buckets. (Several days later, I hopped in a Ferrari F-430 Spyder, and the sensation—backside wise—was quite similar) The silver and black center stack had two main knobs to control just about everything. They did a good job on this one, making sure it wasn’t too busy and flowed nicely into the five-speed auto-cog shifter.

The Genesis coupe is first and foremost a driver’s car. The back seats are snug; they keep you in place as you lean against drab plastic walls and peer out the oval-ish rear windows. I’m not sure what it’s usually like in the back of a 2+2 coupe, but the Genesis Coupe reminded me of a stint as a passenger in a Chevy Cobalt coupe. The Hyundai’s sleek profile certainly cuts into rear headroom (I’m 6 ft, and my crown got intimate with the headliner/rear glass).

Like its big brother, the Genesis coupe starts at the push of a chrome ringed button, just right of the steering wheel. The engine is VERY quiet at idle. It generates a melodious drone in the moments before the turbo awakens. Floor it, and the acceleration is . . . predictable.

When the turbo kicks in, there’s no real KICK IN THE PANTS moment. You can feel all of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe’s 217 lb·ft of torque come on stream, but the shove arrives in a smooth surge—rather than a 90s Saab-like explosion. Steering feel is excellent, as you’d hope for a rear wheel-drive coupe.

As we drove along what I consider the “terrain course,” we surmounted a gamut of road surfaces and conditions. Even on the bumpiest roads, Genesis Coupe remained calm and composed. Props to Hyundai’s engineers for finding the right suspension and dampening balance between control and comfort.

Unlike most non-ultimate driving machines, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe’s transmission’s Sport mode created an appreciable difference in feel and performance. The shifts arrive sooner, keeping the Korean in the meat of the power curve. Before Sport-age, I barely crested 100 mph on the slalom course. In Sport mode, I easily drove over the ton. The brakes inspired confidence—especially after the barricade at the end of the course appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

My stint behind the wheel was short but sweet. If I had $20Gs and a craving for fun, it would certainly be my pick over comparable sports compacts. The strange thing: not many can compare. Whether or not there’s a good reason for that remains to be seen.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Dwford Dwford on Feb 26, 2009

    Just got one at our dealership yesterday. For some reason, we get a totally anonymous white on black V6 automatic as our 1st car. Exterior is hit or miss. Great rear and rear 3/4. Weak, droopy and cheap looking front end. Interior is very nice, no cheap bits, everything where it should be. The V6 is has a lot of power, but the ESC kicks in weirdly. You can't just plant the gas pedal and wind it out. The ESC kicks in and out, creating a choppy arc through the rev range. I didn't try it without the ESC. The chassis is tight, steering firm and ride well controlled without being too stiff. Would I buy one? Maybe. When I can drive the turbo 4 with the stick, I'll let you know. The non car people at the dealer (sadly, mostly everyone) have been annoying me on purpose, saying it is just a Tiburon. Of course, my manager slapped a $2k ADM sticker on it. ::sigh::

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.