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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
Although its peak torque doesn’t arrive until 5300 rpm, the engine is strong from 2000 rpm in almost any gear.
Car and Driver
pushed to its limits, the Genesis Coupe is grippy, well-balanced, responsive, and very well behaved
Even at high rpm, an area in which turbo stalwarts like the Mazdaspeed3 struggle, the Genesis had power to spare.
The shift paddles are well placed and bang off gearchanges with aplomb, but there’s no throttle blipping on downshifts.
The 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe offers something that's relatively rare today, outside of pony cars or vehicles with a luxury badge: It's a rear-wheel-drive performance coupe, with a choice between high-output turbocharged four-cylinder or naturally aspirated V-6 engines. And it's more performance-focused than anything else in Hyundai's lineup.
Last year's refresh brought stronger engines and a new eight-speed automatic. We can say that with these changes, whether you choose the 2.0T base engine or the 3.8 (V-6), you can't go wrong. With either engine, you have a choice of a standard six-speed manual or Hyundai’s new eight-speed automatic, which includes paddle-shifters. And with the eight-speed automatic now getting rev-matched downshifts for 2014, we anticipate that the slow, laggy shift behavior we didn't like about it before has been mostly excised. The manual is a safe bet for true driving enthusiasts, though.
The 2.0-liter turbo four makes 274 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, with peak torque reached at just 2,000 rpm, and the 3.8-liter direct-injection V-6 in the 3.8 models makes 348 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
Thankfully, very few of the front-wheel drive Hyundai driving characteristics carry over into the Genesis Coupe. Shift action is clean and precise, clutch takeup is neat (new carbon-coated synchronizer rings should make manuals even quieter for 2014) and, most importantly, the steering is a tried-and-true hydraulic system, tuned just right.
As with many of the newer turbocharged fours with twin-scroll turbo arrangements, the 2.0T doesn’t have much if any lag, or require you to work it the way that you had to in earlier Genesis Coupes; you can simply roll into the throttle and tap into a wave of torque that takes you all the way up the rev range. The Lambda V-6 engine in 3.8-liter versions responds to the throttle much quicker—and more energetically, of course—than its predecessor. It’s not intensely torquey down low in a muscle-car sense, but it’s an engine that you ‘get’ right away, with a nice build of power and torque up the rev range.
Also adding to the 3.8 models’ appeal—Hyundai hopes—is that it’s added a sound box essentially to make the V-6 more vocal inside the car (by literally piping some of the engine sound into the cabin), without making the neighbors irate. This sounds a little boy-racerish—and we were skeptically expecting something along the lines of old Chevy Eurosport resonators—but it's well executed, with a rich, sonorous note not kicking in especially vocally until you're deep into the throttle or in the engine's upper ranges. Hyundai has added a similar feature to 2.0T models for 2014, but we haven't yet sampled it there.
And in a nod to Hyundai’s frugal, practical side, both engines can run on regular gas if you so desire, and it only cuts output to 260 hp/260 lb-ft for the four and 344 hp/292 lb-ft for the 3.8.
Hyundai made tremendous gains in both performance and dynamic prowess last year, and handling remains a Genesis Coupe high point. Forget about the iffy, unrewarding steering of some other Hyundai models; here, the quick-ratio hydraulic steering and well-tuned suspension—along with tweaks for this year’s model—give the Coupe better, more predictable body control and better control over rough surfaces. The layout—a dual-link MacPherson strut front suspension and five-link independent rear, with a Torsen limited-slip diff in R-Spec and Track models—is carried over, however, with staggered-width tires helping to maintain this model’s poise at the limit.
All Genesis Coupes come with four-wheel disc brakes; while base cars come with single-piston floating calipers, R-Spec and Track models get strong Brembo brakes (four-piston and ventilated, front and rear). These stoppers are fade-free, as far as we could tell from an early track experience, and ready for performance driving. And a traction mode for the stability control system, introduced last year, still allows anti-lock braking if you get too far out of line yet doesn’t cut engine power if you get the tail out; track-day purists will like it.
The 2014 Genesis Coupe delivers stunning performance on a budget -- with better steering and dynamic prowess than any other Hyundai product to date.