Out for blood
In 2009, Hyundai dropped a bomb on the sub-$30,000 sports car segment by introducing the 2010 Genesis Coupe. Rear-wheel drive, 210-hp turbo engine and a bodacious bod, it quickly made us forget the not-bad Tiburon and gave the Korean brand some newfound street cred.
But the Genesis Coupe was also available with a raucous, 306-hp V6 that allowed it to nip at the heels of the potent Nissan 370Z and Mazda RX-8, and eat the Mitsubishi Eclipse for lunch.
The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ will soon hit the streets, Ford is constantly improving its Mustang, while the RX-8 and Eclipse have fallen. Hyundai chose the right time to update its sports car and give more power - lots more. The improvements are so significant that it despite its age, the 2013 Genesis Coupe has all it takes to stay competitive against its newer rivals.
More muscle underhood
While the turbo four receives a massive output gain, climbing from 210 to 274 hp, the 3.8L V6 hasn't been ignored either. Now with direct injection, power rises from 306 to 348 hp, torque rises from 266 to 295 lb-ft, and it all makes this car very, very fast.
It also sounds very, very mean. The V6's soundtrack has gotten aggressive to the point where you could almost mistake it for a V8 once it hits 3,500 rpm. The 2.0L turbo should satisfy the vast majority of Genesis Coupe buyers, but the 3.8 is mighty tempting.
Zero to 100 km/h now takes 5.6 seconds, thanks in part to the reworked six-speed manual. What used to be notchy and unrefined now delivers solid, clean shifts, although engaging reverse is still somewhat of a hassle.
Overprotective stability control
Once you calm your right foot down, you'll get decent fuel economy. My average of 11.3L/100km isn't bad at all considering engine size and output. At 100 km/h in sixth gear, the engine spins at about 2,300 rpm.
Hyundai claims to have recalibrated the Genesis Coupe's hydraulic power steering, and it does feel more responsive and more sports car-like than the old setup, cutting down some of the understeer I felt in the old car.
However, Hyundai's stability control system is about the most aggravating in the industry. It's over-reactive to the point of cutting off all power and applying the brakes at the slightest chirp of a wheel, very frustrating for even the mildly experienced behind the wheel.
It is better for 2013, though, which will please the mildly experienced, as Hyundai has added an intermediate mode which reduces the overprotective nanny assist. So when you feel like driving more, say, enthusiastically, you should flip modes.
Inside, the steering wheel, instrument pod and door panels are virtually unchanged. That's not necessarily a bad thing; apart from the power window switches, which Hyundai thinks can be operated with your knuckles, little needed improving. The steering column now telescopes, which is a welcome addition.
What has been redesigned is the centre stack layout. Fan speed buttons are replaced by a rotary dial, which is good. The navigation screen has moved up to the top of the dash, which is also good. But for the rest, it's just different and not, well, better.
Actually, the three needles added to indicate real-time fuel consumption (off by about 1.5L/100km), torque (in newton metres) and oil pressure aren't very useful, and take up real estate for nothing. Oh well.
As before, the Genesis Coupe benefits from excellent seats, covered in perforated leather in the 3.8GT. They also look fabulously upscale, especially in brown as is the case in our test car.
A great-sounding Infinity stereo with 10 speakers and touchscreen navigation is included in 2.0T Premium and 3.8GT trims, complete with Bluetooth phone and streaming audio connectivity as well as a USB port. Unfortunately, almost every time I started the car, I had to manually reconnect my iPhone to the system; this also happened in other Hyundais (and Kias) previously tested.
When the first pictures of the 2013 Genesis Coupe were revealed, I wasn't too sure about the new front-end treatment. The clean mug of the old car is replaced with a wider mouth, fake hood vents, LED daytime running lights and a general appearance that bears a family resemblance to the Veloster.
I don't think it looks that much better, but everybody else seems to: the new car is drawing a lot more attention then the 2011 version I drove last year. People stare, point a finger and raise their thumbs. I have to admit that the 2013 car looks much more aggressive, and that's probably what makes it more noticeable.
Higher price for the V6
The base 3.8 model is no longer offered for 2013, which means the price of admission for the V6 engine rises from $33K to $36,999 before taxes, freight and delivery charges. The 2013 Genesis Coupe 3.8GT is an interesting alternative to a $41K Nissan 370Z, or even a $39K Ford Mustang GT.
The 2.0T Genesis received a $1,600 price hike, although the improvements are arguably worth it. I'd miss the character and sound of the V6, but a well-equipped Genesis Coupe with the turbo engine for less than 30 grand is quite a deal. If you prefer power over handling, the Hyundai might be a better choice than the new FR-S or BRZ.
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