June 16, 2014
2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT. Click image to enlarge
Review by Lesley Wimbush, Photos by Chris Coughlin
If life were fair, I’d have owned a car like this in my youthful days of stacked-heel Frye boots and jeans so tight I needed a button hook to get into them.
Not that the Genesis Coupe can’t be appreciated by someone of more “mature” years – its razor-sharp styling is undeniably sexy yet without leaning far enough into boy-racer territory that a grownup feels ridiculous driving it.
As it was, I made do my low-powered clunkers. In retrospect that’s probably a good thing – with a paltry 80 horsepower at my disposal I managed to avoid the kind of trouble that a young hot-head driver and powerful sports car seem destined to attract.
After a major redesign in 2013, Hyundai’s rear-wheel drive Genesis Coupe returns largely unchanged, but there are a few notable tweaks. On top of a couple of additions to the colour palette – including my tester’s “Casablanca White” – the coupe now features front fog lights, down-shift rev-matching on automatic transmission equipped models, and Hill-hold Assist for manuals.
Visually, the Genesis Coupe makes a striking statement. While Hyundai’s Fluidic Design ethos has done a bang-up job of transforming the rest of the lineup, nowhere is it more effective than on this low-slung, sporty coupe. Knife sharp creases divide the sheet metal into planes like the facets of a prism creating a play of light over the sheet metal that the camera just loves. But the effect is arresting, and exciting rather than jarring. Last year’s addition of LED running lights lend a more upscale look to its wide face. Alas, the hood vents, while adding a snarky look to the long hood, are merely decorative and not functional. Red Brembo callipers peeping through 19-inch alloys however more than make up for it – a hint that this Genesis has just as much “go” as it does “show”.
Expecting the black-on-black leather so typical of this type of sport car, I was pleasantly surprised by the striking tobacco-coloured seats and contrasting charcoal cabin. While quality is no match for such premium benchmarks as Audi, the level of craftsmanship and style is decent for this segment. Seams and gaps are tight, with materials nicely finished with stitching. However, the hard plastics serve to remind that this is a budget-priced sports coupe.
The overall theme is clean and modern, yet not overtly fussy. The sweeping centre stack features a 7-inch touchscreen with back-up camera, and unlike some competitors, the interface is easy to use, without enduring an endless cascade of screens just to turn the temperature down, or hook up a phone. There’s a decent 10-speaker Infinity sound system, though I strongly suspect that many buyers will replace it with a custom unit.
2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 GT dashboard & gauges. Click image to enlarge
There are all the requisite sports car touches: drilled aluminum pedals, stitched leather hand brake, leather wrapped wheel and push-button start. Analog gauges relaying fuel economy and oil pressure add a bit of the “boy racer” element to the cabin, but they’re tastefully designed and a lot less silly than those found in the Camaro.
Sports style seats feature plenty of bolstering, but not excessively so – they’re comfortable for long road trips too and provide excellent support. As expected for a raked back coupe, rear seating is somewhat limited. Trunk space at 283 litres (10 cu.ft) is about average for the segment, and rear seats flip down to increase cargo space.
The engine choices remain the same: the base 2.0L turbo four-cylinder with 275 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, and the 3.8 L V6, as in my tester, with 348 hp and 295 lb-ft.