August 17, 2012
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Chris Chase
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
In our introduction to this long-term Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T test car, we called it the company’s performance flagship – which is true, but it needs to be said that you can go one better than this, with the 3.8GT model. As might be expected, it’s powered by a 3.8L V6 engine, with 348 horsepower to our tester’s 270-hp, 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder.
But there’s more difference between these two engines than a simple horsepower discrepancy. There’s a fair argument to be made that 270 horsepower is plenty for a car of this size, but as we’re discovering, the way this turbocharged motor delivers its power could prove polarizing.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. Click image to enlarge
The 2.0L engine displays some turbo lag, a phenomenon in which there’s a delay between dipping into the throttle and the turbocharger “spooling up,” to provide acceleration that feels like it’s coming from 270 horsepower.
What doesn’t help is the clutch, which engages abruptly and takes some getting used to. I stalled this car a couple of times the first day I had it, and it was another day or two after that before I’d mastered the apparently fine art of working the clutch smoothly.
Another quirk of the drivetrain is the notch-y shifter, which does not like to be rushed. The smoothest shifting happens when you take your time, but that’s at odds with the car’s performance potential. Run the car the way it was ostensibly designed to be, and the transmission fights back, with clunky shifter movement and, on one occasion so far, a brutal “crunch” when going from first to second in a start that was anything but aggressive.
If the drivetrain isn’t perfect, other parts of this car are more eager to please. There’s the ride, which strikes an impressive balance between comfort and sporty firmness. So far, I like the brakes and steering, which do their jobs effectively, and deliver decent feel to the driver’s feet and hands.
I’ve spent most of my time in this car tooling around the city, an environment that doesn’t come second nature to some sporty cars. The Genesis Coupe’s transmission is less than ideal in stop-and-go driving, but the compliant ride is welcome on Ottawa’s typically rough roads.