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Quick Spin: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec

Jeff Glucker February 5, 2013 Featured, Hyundai Reviews, Quick Spin, Reviews 26 Comments

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe lead

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.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe profile

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.

 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe hood open

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.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe exterior details

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.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe wide logo

Images copyright 2013 Hooniverse.com/Jeff Glucker

  • Scandinavian Flick

    The front end of the newer design is kinda growing on me. It's an improvement over the corded telephone handset shaped chin scar of the previous generation, but I still don't particularly like the gaping maw trend.

    I do like the trend of more efficient, small, performance coupes though. It will be interesting to see over the next decade or so how more car companies address the demand for efficiency while still providing cars that are engaging to drive. Cuz let's face it; driving a Prius sucks…

  • Plecostomus

    I'm also glad they finally fixed the nose of the car – the first gen ones were just ghastly to look at.

    I've heard these cars described as having "musclecar-like" handling- having driven the Subieyota FR-Z, which is the better car for this price bracket?

    • Subieyota is more fun with less power for sure.

      The 3.8-liter Gen Coupe is a pretty fun car with great power, but the steering/shift feel/clutch feel/etc are superior in the Subie-Toyota no question.


    Stock for stock, I think the new nose is pretty much a wash for looks. I don't think it's any better or worse, just different. I do like the pre-refresh nose better though when it has an aftermarket bumper installed, as I think the shape of the original headlights flow better with the lines of the car.

    I want to try a test drive in one of these again. I test drove a 2.0T R-Spec when they first debuted, with the weaker engine, and was very much not impressed. The engine was seriously underpowered and yet still peaky, the shifter and clutch were annoyingly terrible in operation, the interior kind of sucked, and the brakes performed far worse than their apparent pedigree would have suggested. It sounds like they fixed the vast majority of these issues, so maybe it's worth a second look.

    • Worth a second look for sure – Hyundai addressed some of the issues.

      i agree about everything you said on the first gen car though. This newer version is an improvement, and there's still room to get better.

  • Vavon

    I must say this: I love how Hooniverse watermarks the photos intelligently without covering the car up!

    That Hyundai looks nice too by the way, sham about that hole in the front…

    I wish that that ridiculous trend would go away forever!

    • Thanks! We never used to watermark but other photos started magically appearing elsewhere. We don't want to completely cover the car up, so we try to get creative with it.

  • JayP2112

    Would the Mustang-Challenger-Camaro be considered a competitor? I'd gotten a flier in the mail pitting the V6 Coupe vs a V6 Challenger on a road course. According to Hyundai, it was a blowout.

    I'm glad the turbo 4s are stirring the pot and making Ford consider (if not already) an SVO.

    • You'd have to have a pretty open mind to seriously compare the bottom-spec pony cars with this, the Subiota, the GTI and a WRX.

      Assuming you can actually afford the car and the insurance (i.e. a 10% price difference isn't a dealbreaker), it's really more likely to come down to use model, taste and preference than truly objective performance numbers.

      Most of the time, Mustang people aren't Hyundai Genesis people, so to speak.

    • Well, the Challenger is still a muscle car… it's a straight line bucket of heavy fun. I'm sure a V6 Gen Coupe would work it over on a race track.

      Mustang V6? No chance… Victory for the Pony Car

      Camaro V6? Eww… gross. Give me the Hyundai.

  • <img src="http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ljl71mXOxj1qbwp5po1_500.gif"&gt;

    Jeff, that's how I pictured you, FYI.

    • MVEilenstein

      Imitating James May, imitating Jeremy Clarkson?

  • 274hp from a 2.0 turbo four. Gawd bless the present day, even though most of the normally aspirated V6s I've ever driven, let alone the Porsche 944 turbo, all seem suddenly rather quaint.

    • JayP2112

      250hp in the Porsche
      274hp on the Hyundai
      The Coupe is just a bit faster to 60.

      But the 944 weighs about 400lbs less than the Coupe. This may be the reason I've only ever seen 3 or 4 Hyundais at the track. I've seen that many Toyobarus in one day.

      The new HP wars are great but they have a lot of mass to move around now.

    • danleym

      Yeah, as much as I dislike having a lot of electronic dodadery on my cars, I gotta admit it works well. My 88 Blazer, with a 350 cubic inch V8, came with 235 hp from the factory.

      • chrystlubitshi

        that '88 blazer also had a lot of easily obtained power…. kinda like that porsche number was (hopefully) rounded down…..

  • Fritzo2162

    I think it's a sharp looking car, and I love the interior, but there have been complaints that the transmission is awful. The manual is very inaccurate and has problems downshifting from 3rd to 2nd. Anyone have experience with this?

    • Jeff Glucker

      New one is far better. It's far more concise. Old one sucks …

      • Scandinavian Flick

        First time I've heard a transmission described as succinct.

        • chrystlubitshi

          you made such a specific comment, did you want to get down to the point? or just open direct conversation?

  • BobWellington

    Hyundai really needs to fix the looks of this car, as well as the rest of their cars. There are way too many conflicting lines up front and it's too soft from the hood back. I appreciate the fact that Hyundai makes this car, but it lacks any kind of attractive edge in the styling. I would, like Jeff, take it over a V6 Camaro any day, though.

  • don fehlio

    I used to work at a Hyundai dealer, so I've had plenty of wheeltime behind all manner of Gen coupe. They really are great; good noises, good power, fantastic interior, but the clutch/shifter feel on these just kills them for me. It's much better on the 2013, but still not as good as it can be, which is a shame, because I personally find these cars otherwise fantastic.