After a long week of travel, I arrived at my home airport. A statue of John Wayne was there to greet me, but I also had another smiling face waiting just outside. A 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec sat by the curb waiting to head out on the 20 minute trip taking me from the powered-doors of the airport to the one hiding my wife and dogs at home. Luggage secured, mirrors and seat adjusted, shift lever slotted into first… let’s do the gas-clutch dance and get the hell out of here.
The very first thing I notice when pulling away is just how great the engine sounds. Hyundai cut a hole in the firewall to port in some of the noise, and the result is a cabin space filled with a raspy four banger constantly clearing its throat. Add in the loud whistle of the turbo, and you have a combination that is hard to beat without adding cylinders. Out back, the exhaust does a fair job of letting others know that there’s a pugnacious little powerplant hiding under the fake-nostril wearing hood.
It’s not just loud, but potent too. There’s 274 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque on tap, which is rather impressive for just four cylinders. Were it my checkbook though, I’d opt for the 3.8-liter V6 thanks to better low-end response and, quite simply, more power. Still, the 2.0T is a blast. It’s good enough to propel the Genesis Coupe up to a 146 mile per hour top speed, at which point the fuel system goes “You’re done!” The way the power comes on takes a little getting used to if you’re not dealing with twitchy turbocharged machines on a daily basis. Off the line there’s little action unless you sidestep the clutch at too high a rev point. That’s not smart (though it can be fun), so a normal launch leads to a little lull off the line before turning into aggressive forward movement. The turbo whistles while the rest of the car works.
It makes for a fun time when the road is straight, or when powering through a curve at speed. There’s a bit of an issue during lower speed maneuvering, however, because the boost will want to come on mid corner. There’s not enough power to turn it into a dramatic oversteer issue, and traction control is ready to handle that situation anyway. Still, it can be jarring until you realize it’s coming and prepare for it.
When you are ready for oversteer situations though, the Genesis Coupe is prepared to deliver. It’s a fun machine that enjoys being flogged a bit. Hyundai addressed the shifter issues from the first generation car, and the result is a much more confident gear lever that slots far more efficiently into place. Additionally, the Genesis Coupe R-Spec that I’m driving shows off its bright-red Brembo calipers. There’s plenty of stopping power here. I remember driving a coupe on the track and noticing surprisingly early brake fade, but that never comes up during street use.
During my drive home, I get to experience all that makes the Genesis Coupe fun to drive. I’ll experience more of it over the next few days, but for now I’m focused on scattered nighttime traffic of the 405. I’ll take the long-way-home exit that leads to a bit more curves. The front seats are nicely bolstered red thrones that have me feeling supported and comfortable. My iPhone is connected to the stereo, and Jack White is making all six speakers earn their stripes courtesy of Freedom at 21.
I don’t always arrive at my local airport to find a sub-$30,000 rear-wheel-drive sports car waiting for me. When I do though, when the roads are empty and the music is correct, it’s a wonderful thing.
Images copyright 2013 Hooniverse.com/Jeff Glucker