• V6 gets a vaguely muscle-car character; very little bodyroll makes for fast cornering; comfort over bumps surprisingly good
  • Turbo four-cylinder engine let down by manual gearbox and clutch; cramped, dated cabin; lacks finesse with steering and stability control calibration

7 / 10

Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
by Daniel DeGasperi

A review of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is both a good news story, and a bad news story.

The good news is that the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is the only rear-wheel-drive, two-door sports coupe that exists between the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and the Nissan 370Z and BMW 1 Series. The bad news is that Australians wanting to buy either the turbocharged four-cylinder or non-turbo V6 version of the car must wait until a new model is built in right-hand-drive … which is confirmed to happen, but not until 2015.

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is expected to cost around $40,000, which is the same money as a front-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf GTI. The German-built hatchback is no doubt classier, more spacious, and it is brilliant to drive. But with power going to the back wheels, the Genesis coupe should do oversteer – meaning the tail of the car can be adjusted via the throttle, shifting the rear end from slightly moving sideways to full sideways.

But a rear-wheel-drive car is also arguably more ‘connected’ to its driver than cars pulling themselves from the front wheels. Typically, steering is less corrupted because the front wheels don’t have to put power to the ground as well as turn.

So the questions are whether the Hyundai Genesis Coupe can match a Golf GTI for driver appeal, and whether it is worth the extra over the 86/BRZ. If it isn’t, what can we suggest Hyundai work on for the next generation which actually will arrive on local shores…

Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review

First up is the 2.0-litre turbo (below) that produces a healthy 204kW and 373Nm. By comparison a Golf GTI makes 155kW and 280Nm, so a fair more whack is available in the Korean-built rear-drive coupe. But the Genesis Coupe weighs 1525kg, a full 165kg more than the VW hot-hatch, so some of the performance benefit is negated.

Outright performance still isn’t a problem for the Genesis Coupe with the smaller engine – it will get from zero to 100km/h in a fraction under seven seconds. Immediately obvious, however, is the driveability issues – that is, a sticky clutch that makes smooth getaways difficult, a notchy gearbox that makes quick shifting of gears less enjoyable than it should be, and an engine that isn’t as linear as some.

The 2.0-litre engine is quiet and smooth, but it also lacks character and there is a bit of a delay with delivery from right at the bottom end of the rev counter. Going the other way – stopping from speed – the Brembo brakes of the R-Spec Genesis Coupe models bring the 19-inch wheels and tyres to a halt confidently.

A bit of a mix so far, then.

That theme continues with steering that is lacking in the sort of precise movement expected from the best sports cars. The steering is light, but the movement between keeping the wheel straight and getting the wheels to turn in is delayed, creating an unwelcome nervousness.

Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review

The handling, however, is very good. The Genesis Coupe sits flatly in the bends, resisting too much push from the front end when corners are tackled at speed. If balance is required – that is feeling the front end lose grip, lifting the throttle, then feeling the rear end come around – then look to that perennial hot-hatch favourite featuring the letters G, T and I.

Perhaps surprisingly, the way the Genesis Coupe rides over bumps large and small is pleasing for a sports car. It isn’t a luxurious, plush, ultra-comfortable ride, but there’s a firm sophistication to the way this Hyundai deals with road irregularities that keeps it from being too harsh and uncomfortable.

Swapping to the 3.8-litre V6 (above) brings even more power and torque, 260kW and 400Nm. Forget Golf GTI associations as the V6 is more powerful than a Nissan 370Z that costs $70,000, though the Genesis V6 weighs up to 1639kg – or a full 194kg more than the two-seat Nissan coupe.

But the non-turbo V6 quickly establishes itself as a better proposition than the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The clutch and gearbox are smoother and more fluent. There’s also a grainy engine note that endows the Genesis coupe with a vaguely muscle-car character. It feels grunty, and characterful.

The V6, however, also highlights an ordinary stability control calibration that takes seemingly random bites out of the brake disc when in the middle of a corner – despite the car being able to cope with decent cornering speed.

In practicality terms, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe gets a 283-litre boot, so it isn’t as versatile as a hot-hatch. Its rear seat only accepts two people, and there’s not much rear legroom and even less headroom thanks to a sloping roofline.

Having launched in South Korea and North America in 2007, the six-year-old Genesis Coupe feels its age in terms of interior plastic quality and ergonomics. Hyundai has made big strides in this area in recent years, though, so there is cause for optimism that the next-generation model will better compete in these terms with $40,000-50,000 sports car rivals.

The Genesis Coupe is already well equipped with six airbags, active front head restraints, rear LED tail-lights, tyre pressure monitor, digital radio, and on the R-Spec and Premium models, leather trim, electric-adjust driver’s seat, satellite navigation, sunroof, auto dimming rear-view mirror and climate control.

None of which will matter to Australians, obviously. This generation of Genesis Coupe only has two years left on sale in North America before a whole new model debuts and will be sent to our shores.

There’s no word yet on specifications or pricing for the new car, but the Genesis Coupe does show enough promise to be a worthy addition to the Hyundai model range in this country. Unlike other segments Hyundai competes in here, the Genesis Coupe, as an affordable rear-wheel driver, will carve a decent niche for itself between the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and Nissan 370Z and BMW 1 Series Coupe.

As it stands, though, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a worthy and likeable sports car option seeking finesse. Get the gearbox, turbo response, stability control and steering to match the fun handling and strong performance, and the next-generation Genesis Coupe will be worth the two-year wait. It may also be a wholly good news story…

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Hyundai Genesis Coupe Review
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  • Hung Low

    This or Veloster hmmm

    • Golfmother

      Your kidding fung, stick with your crummer , at least it steers straight .

      • Robin_Graves

        Aww flogmother knows hyundai is going to trounce veedud in the next few years. Schreyers touch, a few tweaks to the steering… boom. Veedud has nothing left over hyundai and a whole lot of ground to catch up on with their flaky drivelines and electrics. No wonder your nervous.

        • Golfmother

          GEE grave robber you a total convert to wobbly handling hundi’s , at least the old falcoon steers straight .

          Badge knobs will buy it ,who like to buy on price, but its built down to a price , then again so is the falcoon .

          • Robin_Graves

            Might get a g6e turbo when the next model is released. You are about as transparent as glad wrap, hyundai has your knickers in a twist and rightly so. Better get used to being overtaken by another badge in your underpowered, overweight and unreliable lemon.

          • Golfmother

            That will be a bad investment grave robber , last off down the drain , gas guzzler with no future , man those yanks mis-read the market big time . 

      • Hung Low

        What I meant is they should have had this here instead of a Veloster. I don’t have a Commodore as a daily driver Smithers.

      • horifock ..hong low jung ju

        what the Fxxx are you mumbling you racist? you are the heir of the convict.. stick with your drummer

  • $29896495

    This obviously needs a lot of work.  Aside from what you mentioned, lets look at price. In the US it is a direct competitor to the 86, price wise. If it is to come here it MUST stay with that, say 30K drive away with the 4, or 32K with the 6. Secondly, the design is obviously in need of work. Next one they need to raise the roof a bit for westerners, lose the weird quarter windows which just look rubbish with that dip breaking the line of the car, and they need to add a hatch. Fast backs like this have bugger all versatility with their tiny boot openings. 

    With a clean Schreyer design, and those changes and the V6, I would be a contender.

    • F1orce

      In person it looks much better..

    • idlebrain

       Do you even know where the price of GTI start from in US? According to your insist, 2 door GTI will have to start from below 30k drive away and BMW 320i from 40k drive away. Also, camaro v6 will have to start from 30k drive away…. It will never happen

      Mate, if you don’t have enough money, just get Mazda 3 or focus. Buying a car is just pure expense rather than investment. All car companies are here to make money, not to donate.

      • $29896495

        I take it you are referring to me. Firstly the cars most of us are talking about owning here are not investments. Any car is a money pit. Secondly, you didn’t read my post very well. I was referring to the Toyota 86, which is a direct competitor to the Hyundai. Having read and watched tests of both cars from US publications I’m quite aware of what it’s value is over there, In fact I think you’ll find that the Hyundai is within a thousand dollars of the 86. The pricing is quite reasonable (maybe even a little generous) for what it is, especially in today’s climate. 

        The pricing I mention is also based around them having a chance at selling some. Of course Hyundai could take the approach of over charging and having them sit on the lot for twelve or eighteen months while they wait for a sucker to come along. Thirdly, a Golf GTI isn’t a comparable car for the Genesis Coupe. They are in different markets doing different things, and I didn’t mention a Golf.You are quite right though, those cars you mentioned should be priced like that in this country, but unfortunately, the rise of the dollar has only seen an increase in profit margins, as cars have become cheaper to import, but prices have gone up.

  • Sturmgewehr

    Costs less than a GT86/FRS in USA but will cost $10K more than the GT86 here? What gives hyundai?

    • bd

      No, the GenCoupe costs more in the US.

      • Sturmgewehr


        $24,250USD – Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T (hyundaiusa DOT com)
        $25,255USD – Scion FRS base manual (scion DOT com)

  • Fhg

    Seems to be a excess of Hyundai/Kia articles recently.

    204KW/1525kg Genesis, 0-100kmh in fraction under 7 secs? So that gives it a identical 0-100kmh time to the Falcoone Ecoboost – except Falcoone does it with 35KW less that has to haul a extra 150kgs.
    Sounds like another exaggerated output from Hyundai.

    • Gasman

      The Ford Falcon EcoBoost recorded 0 to 100 in 9 seconds in a Drive COTY testing last year. In a separate test, using Premium unleaded, it achieved 6.9 secs. Using regular unleaded, 7.5 seconds.

      In Car and Driver, and Road & Track, the Genesis coupe recorded 5.9 and 6.2 seconds respectively. Motor Trend 5.7 secs. (Add a few more clicks because of 60mph= 96km/hr).
      Average seems to be 6.5 to 7.0 seconds however, for the manual transmission.

      To state the bleeding obvious, different testing environments equals different recorded times, just like they are for fuel consumption figures. 

      As a comparison, the Genesis 3.8 V6 recorded an average of mid 5 to under 6 seconds. 

      But all that doesn’t matter, when you’ve got a bias towards Hyundai.

      • Ab

        Dont know where the 0-100 time of 9 seconds came from for the Ecoboost… but its obviously a misprint. It easily achieves mid 7’s everytime.

  • Al Tungupon

    I remember the first-generation Coupe/Tiburon as a rather good-looking car, then was suddenly succeeded by an utterly ugly update. So I wouldn’t really count on the successor of the Genesis as an evolution, though I do hope that Hyundai are on their right minds when they finally bring the new car here.

  • Maximark2601

    There is no way I buy this car over the 86 , even for the same price. It’s still a long way before Hyundai could build a sport car to compete again other brands.

  • Don Quay

    Those power and torque figures raise a question. Are they real kW’s and Nm’s or are they Hyundai kW’s and Nm’s? Because Hyundai seem to have different measurements from everybody else. I have yet to see an independent test where the performance matched the claimed outputs. The same with the fuel economy, as we have seen. What gives here?

    While I think the coupe would be a much more likely car to be sold here than the sedan and the current one actually looks OK, it seems that a lot more work needs to be done to the fundamentals to make it comparable to the other cars in this market.

    • Golfmother

      Spot on Don , the yanks are looking closly at the fudgy figures , no wonder the way korean society operates with so much corruption right up at the top of political circles .

      Slumguard’s old kia might be slower than he thinks and sucks down more juice than he thought , wobble wobble down the road .

      • Lindsay

        Impeccable logic there

  • Declan Collins

    Give the FT86 a turbo 4 banger to compete and they wont sell a single one of these.

    • $29896495

      I’m afraid I have to agree, but the Scion is outselling this in the US with out a turbo. What’s not being taken into account are the Sports coupe hatches like the Astra GTC, better looking better built, so what its FWD. When it comes down to dollars an ability, this will come up short.

  • web tasarim

    I’m afraid I have to agree, but the Scion is outselling this in the US
    with out a turbo. What’s not being taken into account are the Sports
    coupe hatches like the Astra GTC, better looking better built, so what
    its FWD. When it comes down to dollars an ability, this will come up
    short.  Perfect car.

  • Maz

    Why constantly compare it to the GTi VW? It’s not it’s direct competitor.. The 86 / 370Z is..

    • F1orce

      I have driven GTI VW & Genesia Coupe and I would easily choose this over the GTI

      It’s better in everyway

      • $29896495

        The two aren’t comparable. Each has a different job and purpose in life. You could just as easily compare it to a Falcon Ute or the new Commodore, would have as much relevance.

      • New

        You clearly work for Hyundai, or are Korean.

  • New

    What a foul looking car…. at the end of the day the price is fair as your buying a piece of rubbish from Korea. KOREA people. How it gets 3.5 stars is a miracle; yet comparing this to a GTI is nonsense…. has the journalist ran out of ideas or been asked to market and brand this in line with a European car… it’s a piece of Korean rubbish.