The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is not merely a shortened, two-door, four-passenger version of the larger, four-door, five-passenger Genesis sedan. While it shares some of the sedan's underpinnings, in almost every way that matters, and in some that probably don't, it is a unique, sporty coupe that offers remarkable value. Using rear-wheel drive makes it a driver's car.
The Genesis Coupe was launched as a 2010 model. The 2011 Genesis Coupe has been upgraded inside to make the cabin an even more pleasant place to pass the time, from more soft-touch materials and higher-grade leathers to added chrome and metalgrain trim. The model lineup has been revised for 2011, also.
The Genesis Coupe offers a choice of engines, between a turbocharged, 210-horsepower four-cylinder and a 360-hp V6. Both come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, increasingly a rarity, if offered at all, in the sporty coupe market. The optional automatics are Shiftronic manu matics with steering column-mounted shift paddles. In a hat tip to the car's rear-wheel drive, the rear tires and wheels are wider than the fronts, making for a better managed, more efficient delivery of power to the road.
Inside you'll find leather upholstery on most models, but the fabric seats are more than up to the dual challenges of keeping their occupants comfortable over long distances as well as reassuringly restrained on winding mountain roads. For the multi media generation, iPod and USB audio inputs are standard along with a simple auxiliary jack.
All of this, though, is icing on the cake. This is a very competent, nicely balanced sporty coupe that feels as at home on a closed track as slogging through daily commute traffic. Rear-wheel drive is generally regarded as being better for sporty handling than front-wheel drive, and the Genesis takes advantage of this. We found the ride and handling on the street and on the track to be remarkably good, especially for a car with a starting sticker price of $22,250.
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe comes in two basic models: Genesis Coupe 2.0T and Genesis Coupe 3.8. Each model has three trim levels: The 2.0T ($22,250), the 2.0T R-Spec ($24,500), and the 2.0T Premium ($26,750); the 3.8 R-Spec ($26,750), the 3.8 Grand Touring ($29,750), and the 3.8 Track ($30,750).
The 2.0T comes with a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 5-speed automatic with Shiftronic ($1,250). The 2.0T R-Spec comes only with the manual, and the 2.0T Premium only with the automatic. Similarly, the 3.8 R-Spec is strictly manual, while the 3.8 Grand Touring comes with a 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic. The 3.8 Track comes standard with the manual and offers the 6-speed automatic as an option ($1,500).
The 2.0T comes with fabric upholstery; power windows, outside mirrors and central locking; leather-wrapped shift knob and manual tilt steering wheel; and a six-speaker multi-media stereo. XM satellite radio and Bluetooth capability are also standard across the line. Premium adds power driver seat, automatic climate control, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with compass and programmable garage/gate remote, a 360-watt multi-media stereo with 10 speakers including woofer, touch-screen navigation, power tilt-and-slide moon/sunroof, and proximity key with push-button start/stop.
The 2.0T R-Spec is a performance model that deletes some trim from the base 2.0T, as well as the base model's automatic headlights and cruise control. In exchange, the R-Spec adds 19-inch wheels with 40-series summer tires (instead of all-season tires), a Brembo braking system, track-tuned suspension, limited slip differential, black leather seats with red cloth inserts, and matching cloth and leather inside door trim.
The 3.8 lineup begins with R-Spec trim, plus fog lights. The top-of-the-line Track adds the sunroof; cruise control; automatic climate control; the 360-watt stereo; folding and heated features to the outside mirrors, which include integrated turn signals; automatic xenon HID headlights; aerodynamic front wipers; a body-color rear spoiler; aluminum pedals and other metallic trim. Heated front seats are upholstered in black leather with power adjustment for the driver.
The 3.8 Grand Touring shares most of the Track's luxury features, but deletes some of its performance equipment (including the Brembo brakes and stiffer suspension) while dialing back to 18-inch wheels and tires. It also sports a backup warning system, brown leather seats and other unique trim inside and out.
Options are limited to floor mats ($105), an iPod cable ($35), and other accessories that can be added after the Coupe leaves the ship at the port of entry. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Safety equipment includes frontal, side-impact and side-curtain airbags. The front seats have active, anti-whiplash head restraints. All four passengers get three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters. The rear seat comes outfitted with child safety seat anchors. Active safety features include antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control and tire pressure monitors. A backup warning system comes on the Grand Touring model.