2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Justin Pritchard
High-value velocity, anyone?
Today, thirty grand buys one a heck of a lot more performance, ponies and visual firepower than ever. Automakers are scrambling to meet the demands of us greedy consumers who want ever-increasing levels of sports-car greatness at lower price points than ever. Examples exist from the automakers the world over – including Hyundai, with their Genesis Coupe.
When this rear-drive sports coupe hit the scene a few years back, it was as if Hyundai tossed a hand grenade into the import compact performance scene. Available with over 300 horsepower, Brembo brakes, a six-speed stick and notably decent handling and performance capabilities, it captured some of the magic of great Japanese import sports cars of the nineties, despite its Korean heritage.
Value was very compelling. For budget-minded performance buffs, Genesis Coupe was like 10 pounds of bang-for-the-buck stuffed into a five-pound bag.
A recent update to the model range has seen styling, feature content and performance and power figures increased, as well as an even more delicious ‘R-Spec’ package added to the roster.
The premise of this R-Spec model is simple. Building on the Genesis Coupe’s tremendous selection, it gives the hard-core performance shopper an affordable way to access some serious performance hardware. Rather than slotting shoppers into a single, fully loaded model that comes just one way (a la Mazdaspeed 3 or Civic Si), the Genesis Coupe R-Spec takes the 2.0L turbo-four model, adds all the performance upgrades, leaves all the flashy stuff behind, and turns in a focused, track-day ready package.
A recent track-day session in the R-Spec made your writer see this Genesis variant’s merits as a great learning sports car. Here’s a look at why.
Affordable Sauce: Bring $29,000 to your local car dealer for a sports model, and you’ll likely leave with somewhere around 200 horsepower and front-wheel drive. That same amount spent at your Hyundai sales centre gets you the 2.0T R-Spec – and notably, 275 horsepower, rear-wheel drive and power output to smoke the Si, FR-S and MX-5 – as well as most other machines – at this price. Though the R-Spec Genesis variant isn’t big on flashy feature content, it caters specifically to the shopper wanting to fully maximize performance bang for their buck.
Hardcore Hardware: The R-Spec isn’t loaded up with navigation, automatic climate control, a sunroof or a back-up camera – but you do get a set of cherry-red Brembo brakes, a limited slip differential (LSD), two-litre turbo engine, R-Spec suspension calibration and six-speed stick. Translation? Out of the box, the spec sheet reads like a boy-racer wish-list, and it’s ready to hit your favourite road course without changing a thing.
2.0T: Your writer isn’t a fan of the 2.0T’s boring sound or sometimes-mushy electronic throttle, though the performance is well set up for the job of lapping. Low end torque is markedly robust, meaning you can spend less time shifting and more time focusing on your lines. Overall acceleration is more than adequate, but not all-out bonkers. Even on a tighter, technical course, most should find the power output just right. Mileage is half decent when you’re driving around town or on the highway, too.