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First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Genesis 2.0T R-spec Coupe Review Plus Senior Driver Notes

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe


by Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor-at-large
The Auto Channel

Auto writers lead a tough life. We get to drive at least one new car a week, every week of the year and then report our objective opinions about the vehicle. Naturally some we like more than others. The newly updated 2013 Hyundai Genesis coupe is one of the best of my drives this year for a variety of reasons.

In one very sleek package Hyundai’s two door vehicle has combined distinctive styling, amazing power, handling and drive dynamics with an aggressive interior and pricing it at a sensational value compared to its main competitors – Ford’s Mustang and Chevy’s Camaro.

The 2013 Genesis is not just an update or refreshing (hate that term!) it has been an evolutionary response to Hyundai’s customers with the goal of making a better car even better. With a bit of sheet metal refining the coupe is distinctive but not derivative. Even in auto-jaded-Detroit I got a lot of thumbs-up from fellow drivers as I passed ‘em on the Interstate; parking valets’ gave it creds by parking it in front far more expensive wheels and pedestrians gave me nods of recognition. That’s only happened a few times: the first Ford Probe twenty-something years ago and a new Bentley convertible. Detroit is new car central.

Under the hood prospective buyers can select from two engines: a 274 hp, 4-cylinder that hits peak torque at just 2,000 rpm and gets 31 mpg; the other is a direction injection V6 that’s been moved up to 348 hp with neck snapping torque. I drove the smooooth as silk six-speed manual but for those so inclined a new 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available with either engine.

My week long drive was a real world experience of city and suburban streets, with many 75 to 80 mph Detroit-bahn-freeways thrown-in for a dash of vehicular adrenalin. No matter the road the Genesis was agile, nimble and responsive with very little road noise. Steering? Crisp and responsive. Braking was firm and quick – the R spec Genesis Coupe (for racing) has Brembo’s. Colleagues I respect said it is a joy on the track. I defer to their judgment. Only a few will drive it on a track anyway. I drove it like a daily driver. BTW: the exhaust note from the Genesis is better than awesome. Not a Ferrari or Lambo or Porsche sound, but nice, very nice.

Slipping into the supportive heated leather driver’s seat one is in a driving environment that is sophisticated without being fussy or overdone. Hyundai has made good use of stylish subtle colors and materials that are shiny were shiny looks good and soft where it should be soft. The instrument panel is clear and very legible during the day and even more so at night with the soft blue lighting on all devices. Naturally there’s a lot techno infotainment options, but even the base model has the always needed Bluetooth and USB port for connectivity and an Infinity audio system.

Prices start in the low twenties and move up to low thirties depending on the specific model. Backed with Hyundai’s 100,000 mile guarantee. Nice trifecta of styling, performance and price, isn’t it?

Senior Driver Notes

Let’s clear something up: this is not a male-mid-life-crisis automobile. Sure this is a sports car in the guise of coupe, but in a stealth version. It does not inspire the pejorative look-at-me glances or comments. If an old football injury or a pulled hammy from jogging plagues you, getting in and out of the Genesis coupe will be at the least a bit difficult. It is a low slung vehicle and fairly tight cabin. My wife has a bad knee and complained about egress and ingress. I had no problems. For night driving (yes I still drive at night) I’d opt for Xeon headlamps or HDI’s.