• Aug 25, 2009
2009 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T Track – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2.0T is the low man on Hyundai's Genesis Coupe totem pole, disappointing the power addled and whooping it up too much for pinkie-waving tea drinkers. However, raw power isn't what this turbo model is all about, and once that's made clear, the coupe becomes a delightful flavor in Hyundai's best recipe. All the careful execution of the Genesis Sedan carries over, with an extra dollop of involvement. It's a driver's car, pure and simple. And that's a recipe we enjoy as much as Mom's London Broil.

While the car-crazies have hotly anticipated the Genesis Coupe's retail arrival, mainstreamers have yet to get the memo that Hyundai has its afterburner lit. Entirely different than the Tiburon it sent packing, the Genesis Coupe is a rakishly good looking car with crisply pressed, creative styling. So it looks good, but how's it drive?



All photos copyright Dan Roth / Weblogs Inc.

One thing's for certain, the Genesis Coupe has serious potential. In 2.0 Turbo form, the GEMA four-cylinder that Hyundai shares with Mitsubishi and Chrysler is mildly boosted to deliver 210 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. The torque is all-in by 2,000 rpm, and there's serious untapped potential in the aluminum engine. In fact, the Hyundai 2.0 shares some of its design with the raucous Mitsubishi Evo's powerplant, although parts differ between the two. The Evo connection is a tantalizing road map to increase the force-fed Genesis' hijinks, and the aftermarket ought to have a field day once it sinks its teeth in.



In the engine room, things are tidy and laid out in a businesslike fashion; the details have clearly been sweated. The turbocharger hangs off the passenger side of the block, and is plumbed through an intercooler before pressurizing the intake tract. There's plenty of room underhood for larger plumbing, aftermarket boost controllers and the usual hot-rodding suspects. The engine has been constructed with all of the right details: aluminum block and heads with cast-in cylinder liners, a bedplate for the lower end, oil sprayers to cool the pistons and dual overhead cams with continuously variable valve timing. Stout stuff. And the square dimensions, with both bore and stroke equaling 86 millimeters, make a good trade-off between off-boost torque and revvability.

The Track suspension package starches up the chassis with stiffened springs and dampers, adds larger diameter stabilizer bars (25mm front and 22 mm rear), stuffs 19-inch wheels with staggered, summer-only Bridgestones under the fenders, and upgrades the brakes with Brembo pieces. Four-piston calipers all around in the obligatory shade of red squeeze 13.4-inch rotors in front and 13-inchers out back, which is impressive braking hardware on a vehicle that's just shy of $28,000 dollars. More importantly for building performance cred, the Track package is not available with an automatic transmission.



Exiting a corner with Tutta Forza called up, a Track-trim Torsen limited-slip differential helps get the power down. The 2.0T has to work hard to break loose – which might strike some as less impressive to some than the big-torque V6 version, but on the track, most wheelspin is little more than wasted motion. While the Coupe and Sedan share a platform, there's nearly five fewer inches of Genesis wheelbase in the two door. A more substantive change is the strut front suspension in the coupe instead of the sedan's control arms. The struts keep costs down, but not at the expense of performance, and the strut towers are braced to keep the geometry stable. The Track suspension in our Genesis Coupe 2.0T is simply the finest job of performance-minded chassis calibration we've ever sampled from Hyundai. The extra stiffness might make your pocket change jingle, but it's still got enough compliance to be comfortable on most surfaces. The ride is busy, but it's acceptable for the extra capability, and more cushion is available by opting out out of the Track package. It's cheaper, too.

The rest of the goodies covered in the Track package are mostly cosmetic and comfort upgrades, including all the goods in the Premium trim level like an Infinity audio system, power moonroof, a power driver's seat, auto-dim mirrors and push-button start. Inside, aluminum dresses up the pedals and the comfortable, bolstered seats are covered in a combination of black leather and red "high friction" cloth. Navigation is forthcoming, too, though our tester sported a large, legible LCD at the top of the center stack in its place. Exterior details include foglamps, high-intensity discharge headlamps, and a large rear spoiler that we'd have accepted reduced downforce to avoid.



The driver's office is also a fantastically good effort. Controls are in the right places, the wheel and stubby shift knob are wrapped in leather, and the center stack is attractively clean while still carrying a full complement of controls for the ventilation and comprehensive entertainment systems. The metallized plastic that tastefully accents various surfaces in the interior may be easily marred, especially where the fob docks, so an entire keychain resting on the lower left corner of the console for thousands of miles is bound to leave a mark. In front of the driver are two metal-ringed nacelles housing legible gauges with halo-style lighting. All of the switches and buttons feel first-rate, and cheap plastics only invade unseen areas.

The only gripe we can muster is the way the steering wheel spokes occasionally block the stalks, making it difficult to see what you've set the intermittent wipers to. Casting an eye around the interior of the Genesis Coupe, you see refined design, and even though some surfaces appear richer than they feel, for the most part, only those who'd rather poke and prod the dash pad will be disappointed – the rest of us will be too busy driving the car.



Upon pressing the "go" button and setting off, we noticed pedals well placed for heel and toe downshifting, and the machinery is game to play along. Underway, there's a growl from the four-cylinder's exhaust, and you can detect the occasional whoosh from the mostly silent turbocharger. The Genesis impresses by being tight, rattle free, and more serene than we expected. A common complaint, at least among those who've tried the V6 Genesis Coupe, is that it has a heavy clutch. In the Turbo, we found the opposite to be the case; the clutch is light and the take-up point is vague. Likewise, steering feel has been widely praised when fitted with the other powertrain, but our initial impression was that it erred on the light side. However, the steering's communication won the day, conveying plenty of detail about what's going on at road level.

There's some softness when off-boost, especially in the first couple of gears where the shorter gearing of the Turbo prevents boost from building. It all fizzes up nicely in 3rd gear, though, and the 2.0 pulls strongly. At speed, a poke at the pedal delivers a responsive surge of pressurized acceleration. When attempting a quick tear through the gears, the electronic throttle's tendency to hang open during shifts precludes smooth driving. It's an emissions thing, for sure, but the calibration forces either slower shifts, or an acceptance of less graceful forward progress.



While there's certainly noticeable grunt delivered by the powertrain, the joy in the turbocharged Genesis Coupe is not in a thuggish shove into the seat. That's what the V6 is for. The 2.0T Track is all about being a pavement scalpel. The handling is clean and deft, the transmission plays along nicely as you row the six-speed gearbox, and the overall execution is impressive for a first effort at a rear-wheel drive coupe that's essentially a ponycar. The capable Genesis Coupe might not have you bellowing the theme to "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" in the same way that the telepathic Nissan 370Z does, and there are cars that will outrun it, but the Genesis Coupe can still hang without excuses.

The potential that lies within this inexpensive, well-crafted coupe is what's really exciting. The easy way to increased capability is winding up the boost. With the aggressive buy in price, there ought to be coins left rattling in the piggy bank for immediate upgrades. On the practical side, the Genesis Coupe offers a (very tight) back seat that folds, a trunk that's not too shabby for a coupe, and it can return 30 miles per gallon on the highway when driven far more gently than we managed. We made too many visits to Boostville to attain that EPA highway estimate.



While the Genesis Coupe is not perfect, it's an extremely solid entry into a newly refreshed RWD sport/ponycar class with plenty of competition. Anyone contemplating the neo-retro Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger ought to check out the Genny, as it offers a whole lot of performance for a solid price without egregious corner cutting. Hyundai's money has gone into the things that matter with this car, and it works phenomenally well, even if we were left wanting more torque in first and second gears every time we launched it hard. Wrap the package in handsome, original bodywork that's not trying to recapture 1969, and Hyundai's effort makes a compelling argument.



All photos copyright Dan Roth / Weblogs Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 65 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love my 2007 Hyundai Sonata but I got to admit I would love to buy this car after I finish paying off my sonata ! My sonata is nice and reliable and the genesis coupe is sexy as hell but i rather have both cars . so in late 2012 I'll be buying a genesis coupe and I wonder if the 2.0 hp will be increased to maybe 225 hp by that point . I read somewhere that the genesis sedan is getting a supercharger on it's v8 . I would love t see a 3.8 Supercharged v6 in the coupe. aka mustang eater ?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @m
        "Do people plan their vehicle purchases that far in advance? Three years is a really long time."


        >> Hyundai buyers are loyal to the brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have a rolling list in the back of my head of cars I'd like to own if my current one dies. After you've had one unexpected accident, where you suddenly need to decide on a replacement car NOW so that life can get back to normal, you start to keep that thought in the back of your head.

        For example, if my wagon / dog-mobile dies, I'm looking at Mazda5, Subaru Outback, Ford Escape, or a used Mazda6 wagon if I can find one.

        If the sedan / wife's daily driver dies, I'm looking at a Fusion, Mazda6, Volvo C30, or a used Audi A3 if I can find one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You already know what car you're going to be buying over three years from now? I don't even know what I'm getting at the grocery store this afternoon!

        Seriously though, not passing judgment or anything, but I'm really curious. Do people plan their vehicle purchases that far in advance? Three years is a really long time. You don't even know what cars might be on the market in that amount of time. And what if three years goes by and you're not really that tired of your current car? Will you buy a new car anyway, just because you want to still have a car payment?
      • 5 Years Ago
      About the rev-hang issue.... whyyy?? Even my '03 Elantra (cable throttle) manages to do that, and yes it makes quick smooth shifting impossible. There's got to be a better way to lower HC emissions or whatever it does. How do other manufacturers manage to avoid this effect?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, that would be really good to know although I guess you could tell as soon as you test-drive one. Elantra and Mazda3 do it? I've heard the Ford Focus does as well. What about WRX, Mazdaspeed3, GTI? I assume not since it's never brought up in reviews. Is it just a trade-off between something like a SULEV rating and drivability for manual transmission cars?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, the other quibbles in the review are bearable, but rev hang on modern transmissions from many manufactures has become awful. I drive a Mazda 3 and it suffers from this problem, though apparently not as bad as many (VW Rabbit). If I had known more about standards when I bought the car, I may not have it now. Does anyone know which newer standard cars don't have this problem?
        • 5 Years Ago
        pre '95 cars are fine
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car is an impressive effort by Hyundai. Imagine how good the next gen Hyundai's will be. Toyota better watch out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My only gripe with this car is in order to get the LSD you have to go with the track pack and that only comes with summer tires. I spent too many winters stuck in the ice/snow because my old car lacked an LSD and I'm not about to shell out money for winter tires when the car should have all seasons as an option.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would negotiate down the price to cover some 17-18" wheels with non-staggered, non-directional, less-wide, and taller sidewall snow tires.

        A jack, a lug wrench, and a couple hours, and you change over twice a year.

        I to, would not like to be left without the LSD, and I do change wheels on two of my cars for the seasons. (and winters and summers do a better job each, with less annual mileage on each, than compromise all-seasons.)

        I like everything about the track pack specs... except the "busy" ride quality. I wonder if Touring pack dampers with good aftermarket lowering springs (an inch or less of drop, not crazy, but not stilts, either...) would fit on the track pack car... I like the brembos and LSD and stick....

        Either that, or the option to add the LSD and Brembos to the Touring package, with a manual gearbox.

        Interesting stuff... It would be a challenge to choose between a GenCoupe, or a lightly used G-coupe....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah normally I would have a separate set of rim and tires especially with the abundance of cheap knock-off rims on E-bay, but there's the whole TPMS thing that the Govrnement mandates on new cars because people are too stupid to check their own tire pressure. Also I have gotten around fine with all seasons in the past so long as I weighed down the trunk we usually don't get that much snow here although this winter we did get alot of frozen rain.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Can't you get the Torsen2 from the dealership?

        225/50 17 front & 225/55 17 rear are a good winter tire size. With a 55/45 f/r weight distribution, you will need more than 'all-season' tires to make it through winter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hyundai is a force to be reckoned with. No automaker is taking them as serious as they should.
        • 5 Years Ago
        really? care to back that up? I've got a tone of press releases and quotes from toyota and their ceo respectively specifically citing hyundai as their ONLY real threat, and those are from years ago. what next, americans don't buy diesel? I wish we'd stop towing all the ancient lines around here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car is what the US should have had back in the 90s when Nissan didn't give us the SR20 in the 240sx! If I bought a Genesis Coupe, it would definitely be the 2.0 turbo motor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        word, Nissan disappointed me with their KA24DE instead of the SR20...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd just wait for the 2.0T R-Spec version instead.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This. I'm waiting for the R-Spec myself.

        You get all the good performance options from the 2.0T Track model MINUS $3000 dollar off MSRP. It also doesnt have sunroof, HID, bluetooth, cruise control, premium sound system, and other small "luxury" items. Hence, it weight a bit less and costs a whole lot less, yet keeping all the performance parts.

        This is the best bargain model in the Genesis Coupe trim.

      • 5 Years Ago
      what happened to having a track pack that didn't include premium interior parts (read: extra weight)?

      i thought the original track pack genesis coupe was going to be a 2.0t base with the upgraded suspension, brakes, and etc...

      track models should be strippers (or at least base) with performance (engine or suspension/braking) additions. when you tack on the other garbage it becomes more of a GT.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is where the 2.0 T R-Spec comes in. Expected to show up in dealers this summer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice review Autoblog.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's a guy down the street who has one. I was surprised at how much more attractive it was in person than in the pictures. I liked it before, but I like it a lot more now that I've actually seen one on the streets.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Stellar car, almost bought a 3.8 Track, but the D-Bags at Rick Case insisted that my 2006 G Coupe was only worth $9,000.00.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're right Farmboy. I didn't like the 370Z much until I saw one in black.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sal, you're not serious, are you? A collector's car? Come on now, let's be real; the Genesis is nice, but hardly a "collector's car" any more than a Mitsu 3000GT VR-4 will show up on the 18th at Pebble.

        I'll prance naked through Central Park the day someone parks a Genesis in their collection between a 63 split-window and a 365 Daytona.
        • 5 Years Ago
        True true.. I saw a blue one with the chrome trims on my way to Tampa..
        it looks so much better in person.. makes me like it so much more.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I saw one lime green and I didn't like it. However, when I saw one in silver and black, I just couldn't help it, I loved it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        63 Split? Hope your not refering to Vw Beetle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like how you summed up the review Dan "Wrap the package in handsome, original bodywork that's not trying to recapture 1969, and Hyundai's effort makes a compelling argument."

      Its that retro-tastic styling of the Detroit 3 that ultimately keep me out of that market. The more new Camaros I see on the street the less interested I become. Their gunslit windows might look cool on the showroom floor, but in daily use it would likely prove a pain. The Challenger was novel at first, now it just looks slabby and unfinished. The Mustang at least looks honest, the product of constant evolution - but you have to love the Mustang to want it.

      The Hyundai however needs a bit more visual muscle. I think a bit of track widening, with bodywork to match would really elevate future iterations.

        • 5 Years Ago
        JZeke You pretty much summed up exactly.

        I too find myself even far less interested in these retro tastic styled cars. I have never saw the big deal about their designs. I was never a fan of cars from the 1969 era when i was younger, nor am I now. I have always been a big fan of future styling and sleek true coupe designed aerodynamics.

        Now for what you have stated about the Genesis Coupe looking a little more muscular, I will definitely agree with you. I have faith with the next refresh they will make it look much more aggressive with bolder shoulders. Hyundai definitely knows how to give what the customers want. THey have ears and are always open to suggestions, opinions, and concerns, which in turn allows them to come out with another hit product, unlike GM or Chrysler. Ford at least is finally getting it. Even Toyota and Honda need to pay close attention to how Hyundai listens to it's customers.

        Even though the Genesis Coupe is not COTY or the messiah of 2 door RWD coupes, this, however, is an excellent start for Hyundai that is already getting a lot of notice. Give Hyundai a few more years and the Genesis Coupe will be a fiercely competitive product. I for one congratulate Hyundai for coming out with yet another sold and decent product that people actually want to buy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a Genesis Coupe 2.0T, have added a boost controller and adjusted the waste gate, so approximately 30ft/lbs of torque have been added through most of the power band.

      It was a hugely noticeable difference.

      Regularly take it on cruises with a local club and it always gets attention and questions in the crowd of Diablo, Gallardo, NSXs, Ford GTs, etc.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/41580220@N08
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Zamafir

        The ECM has not been cracked yet, only standalone units available.

        The problem (or great thing) with the Boost Controller is that the ECM has a fuel cut off at 18PSI, throws a CEL that has to be cleared before boost is available again. It is going to be near impossible to grenade this thing.

        I've also kept it very mild.

        Remember that this is not an Evo motor, but closer to the Lancer Ralliart in design and components, it is an open deck block.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Were the questions "What are you doing here?"

        I like the Genesis, but I'm not sure why you'd be hanging with cars of that caliber.
        • 5 Years Ago
        only 30lb ft? bummer, i was hoping these would be as tunable as the stuff vw's been putting out for years. 2.0Ts with no physical mod, just a chip, put out 100 more lb ft of torque. maybe the next revision?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for making that point.

        While I'm glad to see this review, I'd really like to see reviews of the base model turbo and V6 models. The base turbo can be had for less than $21K and the base V6 can be had for less than $24K. Is the Track package really worth the price difference, or is it a better deal to take a base Coupe and spend $1-2K on mods?
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