Recently I had the opportunity to drive the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe at Hyundai’s Adrenaline Tour event at Texas Motor Speedway. This was not your normal promotional event, as far as the public is concerned. To the surprise of many, Hyundai had set up what was essentially a simple autocross course. Great! For some like me, it was time for some hoonage. For some others it obviously was time to enjoy a leisurely drive and closely examine each cone as the Genesis Coupe ambled along. Seriously, who test drives a sports car that slowly?
Before getting in line I took a closer look at a 2.0 Turbo Hyundai had on display. Fit and finish was surprisingly good. I wouldn’t put it on par with the 370Z interior, but it certainly is leagues better than the earlier 350Z. The layout was well designed with everything easily within reach. The driver’s seat was comfortable yet supportive. It later held me nicely while exploring the limits of adhesion. The back seats were a tad small but would be survivable for short trips if you’re less than 6ft tall.
So on to the experience. Hyundai allowed each person two laps, each lap choosing between the 3.8 liter V6 or 2.0 liter 4 cylinder Turbo engines in either automatic or manual transmissions. Let me preface what follows with the fact that I had one 30-40 second lap in each car, so my impressions can be taken with a grain of salt or even completely thrown out the window. Take your pick.
I took my first lap in the 6-speed V6. Clutch take-up was easy, quick and I had no problem getting a smooth launch. Power delivery was nice and linear but I felt there should be more considering the 306 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. There was a good amount of initial turn-in understeer but once settled in the turn, a good jab of the throttle would bring the tail out nicely. Steering feel was quite good, although I often briefly wondered what the back end was doing. The brakes had good feel and were fade-free, as expected from a Brembo setup. There were some offset bumps at the end of the course intended to upset the car and demonstrate chassis rigidity. Honestly, I have no idea how this should have felt, as I was too focused on the clanking front right suspension as it hit each bump. I realize these are abused demo cars, but for only having a few thousand miles, it still left a bad taste in my mouth.
Next up…the 2.0 liter Turbocharged inline-4, also a 6-speed manual. I got in this car expecting a somewhat different experience. Considering a 106hp deficit when compared to the V6, obviously it wasn’t going to launch out of each turn as quickly. However, I anticipated a lighter feel and being able to carry a little more speed into the turn. So that’s exactly what I did. I came into the first turn a little faster than before. Bad idea. The front end plowed on ahead as I turned the wheel. Successive turns felt better balanced, as I had more appropriate entry speeds, but the car still felt quite heavy and underpowered. Now the V6 had felt a bit heavy too, but you could muscle it around a bit and make it obey. Not so with the 4 cylinder. There is about 100 lbs difference between these two cars, but unfortunately it’s just not that noticeable. In this car I was able to pay attention when rolling over the small speed bumps and it did quite well. I heard no creaks or groans and for a stiff sport suspension it soaked it all up nicely.
I think a buyer looking for a fun, somewhat powerful car will be more apt to want the V6, while the 2.0 Turbo might lean more toward a fun commuter car for someone who occasionally wants to enjoy a back road. The 2.0 Turbo has decent power for daily driving and will still return 30 mph on the highway. It may do well with the tuner crowd too, who have always loved anything with a turbo. The more hard-core might want to spend the extra $3k for a little more precision and power on a 370z, but for the money the Genesis Coupe is a steal that buyers won’t regret.
Click Here to browse my photo gallery for this event.
Here’s a short video I put together. If you have a fast connection,
click the YouTube icon and watch it in HD!