|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Normally, a driver’s best ally in a car is the transmission. More than just the brute horsepower of the engine, it’s the transmission that determines how that power is transferred onto the wheels. It can amplify and/or reduce acceleration, top speed, and even fuel economy depending on the specific tuning involved. Given the importance of the gearbox, a sports car should only warrant the best. That’s why you often hear things like ‘positive action’, easily modulated clutch’, and ‘short throw shifting’ alongside ‘powerful acceleration’ and ‘exhilarating handling’. Unfortunately, it seems Hyundai engineers didn’t get the memo with the Genesis Coupe 2.0T.
But before getting to the gearbox, let’s first talk about the positive aspects of the Genesis Coupe, namely: everything else. Priced at P 1,818,000, this eye-catching, sexy red (aptly called Super Red) slots in on the higher scale of the model range given it’s fitted with Brembo brakes among a host of other goodies. It represents a price hike of P 300,000 over the base 2.0T, but still nets you a chunk of change versus the Ford Mustang V6, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota 86 Aero. And the best part? The savings don’t necessarily translate to a less diluted experience; what you get is the same full-flavored, rich-bodied taste you’ve always loved with the Genesis Coupe.
Outside, it’s designed and engineered with one thing in mind: to look fast. The new fascia of the Genesis Coupe doesn’t have the same subtleness pre-facelift, but it’ll actually grow on you. Promise. And according to Hyundai Creative Director Casey Hyun (who was in Manila a couple of months back), this new look actually aligns the Genesis Coupe to the rest of Hyundai’s passenger car line-up. The complex headlights, LED park lights (located on top of the fog lamps), and the enlarged hexagonal grille all give the Genesis Coupe an unmistakably menacing look. If there’s one thing that needs to go though, it’s the faux hood vents—either make them functional or axe them altogether. Vents aside, this is one straight-forward machine that shouts, “You don’t want to mess with me.”
It’s the same story inside, where several upgrades help keep the Genesis Coupe fresh. Though there are still some hard plastics here and there, at least the overall appearance and execution justifies the price tag. For instance, the gauges have been replaced with more legible dials incorporating the digital fuel and temperature gauges within the speedometer and tachometer. Then, you have a redesigned center console which replaces the bright aluminum trim for a darker, brushed look. It also incorporates a new higher-resolution (but still monochromatic) LCD display for the audio and climate, revamped ventilation and audio controls, and a new triple-meter cluster (Acceleration%, Turbo Boost, and Oil Temperature). It sure is cheesy, but it’s worth the entertainment. And speaking of entertainment, Genesis Coupe comes with a fancy Infinity sound system and a full range of inputs including one for the Apple iPod. Sadly, the car can’t seem to remember where you last stopped in your playlist when you turn the ignition off. This means you’ll have to repeat your entire iPod library, alphabetically, or press ‘Random’ and hope for the best. Because this is the 2.0T Brembo, the black cloth seats have been replaced by a red leather/cloth number. Don’t worry: it looks classy, not chintzy (or cheesy for that matter).
If looks could kill, the Genesis Coupe would simply be guilty of a massacre, so thankfully, it’s got the performance to match those killer looks. The 3.8-liter V6 may have stayed the same, but the turbocharged 2.0-liter Theta engine sees a power bump to 260 horsepower and 353 Nm of torque from as low as 2,000 rpm. The bump is largely brought about by using a twin-scroll turbo and revised piping to extract the extra power. Flooring the throttle results in a good feeling of rush, but nowhere near the sensation of being pushed into your seat. There’s ample thrust through the rev range and overtaking is much easier to accomplish here than in the V6 because of the flatter torque curve, but it’s not much of an aural delight. Don’t get it wrong, the 2.0T goes like stink and will revoke your driver’s license if you want it to, but it doesn’t connect as well to the driver in a subjective sense compared to the V6. And that’s where the subject of the gearbox comes in.
Hampered already by the less than delightful engine note, the Genesis Coupe 2.0T’s biggest Achilles’s Heel is the 6-speed manual. It does thankfully have six forward gears, but the gearbox remains as vague and hard-to-master as ever. It’s as if Hyundai lifted the transmission off the Accent and called it a day. First up, the clutch abruptly engages somewhere in the middle of the stroke, catching you off-guard in some circumstances such as attempting to climb steep grades. Second, the shifter itself is quit notchy and hesitant. More than once, you’ll find yourself engaging first gear, when all you wanted was reverse. And things get worse, especially between 2-3-4. More than once, you’ll end up missing the gear entirely or grinding them together. In short, if you’re getting a Genesis Coupe, the best experience to be had would be with the creamy smooth 8-speed slush box.
With regards to the rest of the handling equation, the Genesis Coupe fairs a lot better. This car proves to be both a grand tourer and a track machine at the same time. It manages to be precise while being forgiving on Manila’s pothole filled roads. The steering is also fairly accurate and together with good visibility allows for confident placement in corners or cutting through traffic. And as for the Brembo brakes, the package which consists of 340-mm discs and four-piston calipers in front and 330-mm discs and four-pistons at the back, do their job remarkably well in stopping the Genesis Coupe dead. Plus, it’s fade-free with great modulation, perfect for a couple of hot laps on the race track.
All told, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T still manages to remain a great value sports car, if only just. Paired with the 8-speed AT, there’s no doubt that this car is a joy to drive every single day. It’ absolutely easy to live with, while providing the right amount of thrills to keep things exciting. Unfortunately, some of that luster is lost when paired with the manual gearbox. For some, the purity of a three-pedal set-up is still unmatched, but there’s no denying the merits of going for the automatic instead. As good as the Hyundai Genesis 2.0T is, Brembo brakes and all, it’s only as strong as its weakest link.
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0 T
|Ownership||Genesis Coupe 2.0 T Brembo|
|Year Introduced||2008 (Facelifted 2012)|
|Vehicle Classification||Sports Car|
|Body Type||2-door Sports Car|
|Engine / Drive||F/R|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||Inline 4|
|BHP @ rpm||260 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||353 @ 2,000-4,500|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Unleaded / 95~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,571|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, Multi-Link|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Multi-Link|
|Front Brakes||Brembo, Vented Disc|
|Rear Brakes||Brembo, Vented Disc|
|Tires||225/40R19 (f), 245/40R19 (r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||8|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|