2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-SpecPosted on August 26th, 2010
Value meets style and performance
By Nina Russin
Hyundai’s success with the midsize Genesis sedan inspired product planners to introduce two-door version. The R-Spec model takes the stylish coupe and adds a dose of performance, with a turbocharged two-liter engine, six-speed manual gearbox, special suspension, wheels and tires.
Turbocharging gives the four-cylinder engine exceptional low-end power. The engine develops peak torque, 223 foot-pounds, at 2000 rpm. As a result, the coupe prances off the line past other vehicles, and can soar into high-speed traffic. Zero-to-sixty acceleration is under six seconds.
A short-throw shift lever allows the driver to transition quickly between gears. Two large overdrive gears maximize fuel economy on the highway.
A strut tower brace contributes to overall chassis rigidity for enhanced steering feedback. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels with low-profile summer performance tires give the R-Spec Genesis a wide, stable footprint. Brembo four-piston brakes can handle the demands of a race track and stop the car on a dime.
Despite its high-performance accouterments, the Genesis coupe is also a great value: under $25,000 including delivery charges. Hyundai’s industry-leading warranty contains maintenance and repair costs, making the R-Spec coupe a realistic possibility for car enthusiasts on a budget.
Test drive in the Midwest
I recently drove the Genesis R-Spec coupe on a road trip from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana. My driving route included some rush-hour traffic in downtown Chicago and on the freeways, rural roads in northern Indiana and city streets in South Bend.
Having driven the race-prepared coupe over some fairly rough surfaces, I can say that it is not a car for everyone. Despite its fully-independents suspension, the Genesis coupe has a harsh ride.
While low-profile tires dress up the exterior and enhance traction, they do little to cushion the ride over the types of potholes and rough pavement one finds in the Midwest.
The close-ratio transmission is user-friendly, compared to similar products. The clutch is light enough to use in city traffic, and there is enough range within each gear to prevent the driver from having to shift constantly in thick traffic.
Fuel economy depends a lot on how the driver uses the car. Keeping the revs high for performance eats up a lot more gas than cruising along in sixth gear. My own experience came close to the EPA estimates of 21 miles-per-gallon around town and 30 on the highway.
Having said that, the manual transmission gives the driver considerably more control than an automatic. If I wanted to extend the car’s driving range, I was able to keep it in the highest gear without overriding any software.
Designers positioned the car’s B-pillar towards the back, enhancing over-the-shoulder visibility. I was impressed by my view out the rear glass as well. Despite a thick C-pillar and sharply-raked roof, I had no problems seeing out the back to pull out of a parking spot or parallel park on the street.
The view out the front is wide and unobstructed; side mirrors enhance visibility in the rear corners without getting in the driver’s way when he corners to the left or right.
The turbocharged engine is a peppy performer at all speeds. The Genesis coupe is light relative to other vehicles in its competitive segment: under 3300 pounds. The light chassis gives the small engine a positive power-to-weight ratio. The rear-wheel drive coupe also feels extremely balanced, front-to-back.
Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering provides more assist at low speeds while maintaining positive on-center response on the highway. A 37.4-foot turning radius is about average: good enough to perform a U-turn on wider suburban roads.
While the Genesis isn’t as quiet as some heavier luxury cars, there is no obvious wind or engine noise inside the car. The 19-inch wheels and tires are noisier than the standard 18-inch combination, but that’s to be expected. Dual exhaust tips let out a pleasant belch during hard acceleration.
Outside, the Genesis coupe comes quite close to the HCD8 concept car on which it’s based. The coupe’s bullet profile and strong beltline drew positive comments from several admirers in the hotel parking lot.
Wrap-around headlamps draw attention to the front grille. The snub rear decklid balances off the long, bulbous front end: classic sports car proportions.
From its bolstered front sport seats to the analog gauges in the instrument panel, the Genesis coupe is all about the driver. Designers wisely made the major touch points, including the steering wheel and shift lever, leather rather than metal. They are attractive and more comfortable in temperature extremes.
The steering wheel is small enough to be comfortable for a woman, and easy to adjust for maintaining clear forward vision. The front seats provide excellent lower lumbar support. Power seat adjustments are easy to use.
Cupholders in the center console can hold 20-ounce water bottles. A standard USB port lets the driver plug in an iPod or music stick. Satellite radio on the test car offers hundreds of channels of commercial-free programming: a boon on an extended road trip.
Both the window switches and fuel door switch are located on the door, close to the window, where they are easy to find and reach. Since driving through northern Indiana involves numerous stops to pay tolls, I appreciated being able to get to the window switches easily. It’s also nice to be able to reach the fuel door switch without going under the dash.
Temperature controls on the center stack are accessible from either front seating position. Hyundai uses a blue background for its digital display screens in the gauge cluster and center stack. I didn’t have problems reading the display in the center stack which listed audio channels, but the smaller display in the gauge cluster was almost impossible to see in daylight. After dark, the blue backlighting makes that display clearer.
Access and egress to the second-row seats is not great due to the large front doors and large wheel wells. There’s a modest amount of legroom in back, but headroom is limited, due to the severe rake of the roof.
The coupe’s trunk is large enough to hold the weekly groceries and some luggage. While the trunk is fairly long it’s also shallow, making it less suitable for larger cargo.
All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, active front headrests, antilock braking, traction and electronic stability control.
The 2010 Genesis coupe R-Spec is on display at Hyundai dealerships nationwide.
Likes: An affordable sports coupe with serious performance and good fuel economy. The coupe’s strong aerodynamic profile makes it a head-turner as well.
Dislike: Sport suspension components and large wheels can make for a rough ride on uneven road surfaces.
Model: Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec
Base price: $23,750
As tested: $24,625
Horsepower: 210 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 223 lbs.-ft. @ 2000 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: Under six seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 21/30 mpg city/highway
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