• Feb 26, 2009


The first Genesis Coupe has landed in the driveway of Eager American Buyer Number One before Hyundai has even finished launching the car for the press, which is a slight reversal of things. In other words, the Korean automaker is actually ahead of schedule in launching its latest product. How refreshing.

Lucky for us, we managed to spend a few days in a Lime Rock Green Genesis Coupe before the press preview, and in that time we got some good first impressions of the car both on the street and at the track, in the rain and under the sun, on four wheels and two (just kidding, Hyundai).

We did our time in a 3.8-liter V6 with the track package. The car strikes a beautiful mix of pep and power from stoplight to stoplight, which is to say it will jump off the line but isn't frenetic while doing it. The shifter itself is oddly shaped, but the quality of the shifting is very good. The seats – except for the headrests – are supportive, comfy and pretty. The controls are also nicely placed and the stereo is a blast, but you'll need a minute to figure out all the buttons to operate it.

While on the track at Willow Springs, we were able to unchain the frenetic little devil that the Genesis Coupe keeps leashed around town. The steering wheel is the perfect size and provides plenty of feedback. The exhaust note, less than inspiring when you're nice to the car, finds its bellow when you stomp on the gas and let the revs climb. The brakes will keep up the good work for lap after lap after lap. The handling will even make a few other cars take note -– there's no "in it's price bracket" caveat here – and its rear-wheel-drive reflexes are nicely tuned. It is easy to get quick in the Genesis Coupe, and once there, it's pretty easy to stay quick.

Of course, there were a few details we wondered about: the headrests are canted so far forward, like they were designed for people with either long necks or little heads (NOTE: Hyundai has confirmed that the headrests do adjust for comfort, but you have to crank them all the way forward before they can go back) the car needs a rear window wiper in the worst way – trying to see out the back in the rain is to understand glaucoma; and long journeys on L.A. freeways was a less than thrilling experience – you'll be glad to have that stereo. Nevertheless, it is a fine proposition, and if Hyundai can give the four-cylinder the same balanced handling, then that's a car that will make us all tingly.

Stay tuned for our full report on the Genesis Coupe in a couple of weeks to find out.


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  • 100 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man, the new Tiburon is still ugly. The face of that thing is hideous. Just so I've got this correct, the above car retails for $29,500 as tested...hmmmm, think I'll take a base model 370Z thank you very much...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am a bit disappointed. I thought The Genesis would be a cheap, fun to drive, seriously sporting RWD coupe, something that is sorely lacking in the this market. I have a 2006 MX-5 but it's not the most practical. I think Hyundai got a lot of things right, but the price and that torque-reduction ECU cut thing is a complete deal breaker for me. I'd pay a bit more and take a 370Z instead.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chevrolet Camaro 300hp $22k or 420hp $31k. Both have a Nurburgring tuned suspension and 6sp manual. Explain how its not an affordable RWD sporting coupe. Also find me another $31k vehicle with 400+hp.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Camaro is really heavy. I want a light RWD sports car that is also suitable as a daily driver.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just can't get over that weird curve under the rear side windows.
      • 5 Years Ago
      camaro - retro muscle car

      gen coupe - modern 'tuner' friendly 4banger and v6 GT


      • 5 Years Ago
      Edmunds Insideline really likes this vehicle and the model they reviewed looks much better in black.

      http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=142686?tid=edmunds.il.home.photopanel..1.*

      Can't wait to test drive one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for the link.

        I read through to the important port of the edmunds article.
        Car weight is 3488, lighter or equivalent to most other rwd sports car.
        Hp is 306
        tq 266

        These numbers should translate into a faster car, but they don't.

        The genesis coupe gets pretty much spanked by every rwd sports car on the market
        The mustang, g37, 350, 370 and even the 128i bmw with 76 less hp crush it in the quarter mile. 14.5@97mph isn't anything special these days. You could run that with a stock 5.0 mustang 15 years ago, and that only had 225hp.
        This is why the v6 fails, just like the rx8, just not enough torque.

        I know there is some fanboys out there that love this car, but unless you like the view of other cars tailights, steer clear of this thing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Something is amiss up at Edmunds.
        Did they really use regular fuel?
        Why didn't they try to short shift and find the best engine speed to shift at (or figure out the tach latency). That car should be 14@100 if not faster.
        or 13.5@105 (in 3rd, like the Mustang) if you wind out the engine past 7500rpm.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7wZAD97Q68
        • 5 Years Ago
        I test drove one yesterday.
        The head rests were a pain but once you spend some time adjusting them
        they're fine. The deffinatly do need a windshield whiper for the back window.
        The sound system is great! But You do have to hold the clutch in longer than normal cars when shifting or else is jolts you back. Its cool how hyundai put the reverse on the top left instead of bottom right though. All and all defintaly looking at purchasing it very soon.The car also has a feature that if you leave your keys in the car or in the trunk that it will beep and it wont lock until you get them out. The tires are filled it nitrogen instead of air which kepts the same presure all the away around.!!! It's a great peice of work.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Drag racers need not apply, stick with the live axle Mustang.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh my they just compared it to a G37 and it won.

        http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=142826?tid=edmunds.il.home.photopanel..1.*

        and the dyno test...

        http://blogs.edmunds.com/straightline/2009/02/inside-line-dyno-tests-the-2010-hyundai-genesis-coupe.html?tid=edmunds.il.home.photopanel..2.*

        hopefully Hyundai will clear up the 3 second delay when shifting at redline to see what the vehicles true potential is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice one Hyundai, you're winning me over. I rented an Elantra (an Elantra!) while on vacation last year and loved it, so did my wife. A Hyundai might be in my future if they keep this up..
        • 5 Years Ago
        You should try the Elantra Limited with a 5 speed manual. My wife does have the 2007 model and we both love to drive the hell out of that car. It takes about as much as you can dish at it, while having a very powerful and peppy 2.0L 4 banger. The engine performance in that Elantra alone surprises a lot of people who are in "race mode" at traffic lights. let's just say that most cars with automatic v6 engines, especially domestics, and some BMW's, the Elantra can easily breeze by them from the second and 3rd gears. It's funny how my boss, who bought a brand new Mazda 6 with Ford's new V6 couldn't even keep up with me. He seroulsly thought I put a turbo in the engine bay. Also just so you have an idea of the torque this engine is capable of, how many non turbo 4 cylinder 5 speed compact cars can you bark the tires on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear? This Elantra can easily do that. Also if you can manage the art of double clutching, or rev matching, you can really make your driving even more interesting, especially on highways when you need to pass. Just drop the transmission down 2 gears, rev match, and then thrust the accelerator. it will give you an even more impressive "bury your head into the seats" yank feeling than you ever could experience in an automatic. Be careful though, it is so very easy to get the Elantra up past 100MPH and not even know it.

        Aside from racing, the Elantra is very well built, has a great truly independent (absolutely torsion bars like the lesser comparable Sentra) suspension system and handling, especially with the cold weather tearing up the roads here. The Limited version gives you electronic dual climate controls and 16" wheels. Our car also has 6 air bags, XM radio, RDS, CD/MP3, and a "normal" auxillary jack, none of that specialized iPod dock junk, 6 speaker system, an odometer that also tells you your average gas mileage, heated seats, and has a very spacious and comfortable back seat. The interior volume alone is only .9 cubic inches smaller than the Chevy Malibu, which says a lot for a compact car. Some people may not know that but the stereo system in the Elantra also automatically adjusts it's volume when you are driving and when you are at stop. It is much better at doing that than GM ever was. Under the hood one of the many things that impressed me is that the air intake is directly above the girlle, not behind the headlight or somewhere wierd like most cars. It also has fluid filled motor mounts

        Hyundai has truly come a very long way even in service. My dealer that i bought the car from gives me free oil changes for the life of the car and a total bumper to bumper (not just powertrain only) 10 year 100000 mile warranty for no extra charge. I only ended up paying $15,800 for the car. Now how's that for service?

        I have been inpressed with Hyundai since I purchased the XG350. That was the first car that totally made me stop buying domestic cars. I never had any major issues with anything in that car, except having to replace a battery in a bad thunderstorm. After having head gasket failures, bad air flow sensors, oxygen sensors, suspension parts failing, electrical issues from alternator to turn signal wiring, transmission problems, ignition problems...etc I've had enough. The XG350 was the first car to show me that there is a such thing as a reliable and nearly maintenance free car, and a service department that is not always looking to milk you out of your savings. Since then Hyundai had my respect.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a 2004 Tib GT and the rear wiper is extremely important as the defroster isn't terribly quick and there's a lot of glass surface area to wipe down.

      Since the look is almost functionally the same, I agree that the lack of wiper is a negative. Can't wait to get behind one of these in a year or two.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I test drove one yesterday.
      The head rests were a pain but once you spend some time adjusting them
      they're fine. The deffinatly do need a windshield whiper for the back window.
      The sound system is great! But You do have to hold the clutch in longer than normal cars when shifting or else is jolts you back. Its cool how hyundai put the reverse on the top left instead of bottom right though. All and all defintaly looking at purchasing it very soon. And the tires are filled with nitrogen instead of just air so it gives you all around same tire presure that was a good feature except that if you get a leak it will leak faster than air filled tires and you can fill them up with air but you need to go back to the dealership if you end up getting a flat.They can refill it with nitrogen for you.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So for $30k you could buy this or spend another $1k and get a Camaro that's over a full second quicker to 60 and will leave it for dead in the 1/4 mile. From a bang for your buck perspective the V6 plays with American V8s where its outgunned. The very affordable 2.0T seems to be the value proposition.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Excellent car for a good price. Hyundai is climbing the ladder of success even more.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Had a 2 week rental a while back (a Sentra I think) where the headrests jammed my head way forward. It is far more than a slight discomfort, believe me.

      I ended up pulling them out and turning them 180° so the front of the head rest faced the back seat. Looked a bit odd and maybe could have been a bit dangerous in a rear-ender, but each day in that thing I was getting neck and upper back pain due to the headrest.

      Now I wouldn't even care if I liked and really wanted a car - if that headrest is off I'll pass.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ever since I saw this car, I've been thinking: It doesn't look like a genesis.
      In fact, it looks like an over-sized Tiburon. I'm just saying that I miss those Genesis grills.

      Nice car though and I agree: 4-cylinder would be great as well.
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