First Drive: Thrashing the 2013 Genesis Coupe
20 Feb 2012

First Drive: Thrashing the 2013 Genesis Coupe

Technically, the 2013 Genesis Coupe is a mid-cycle refresh. For any other manufacturer that would usually mean no change in powertrain, a few new colors, and maybe a price increase. The 2013 Nissan 370Z is a perfect example. Not content with the status-quo, Hyundai decided to go another route.

20 Feb 2012

Technically, the 2013 Genesis Coupe is a mid-cycle refresh. For any other manufacturer that would mean no change in powertrain, a few new colors, and probably a price increase. The 2013 Nissan 370Z is a perfect example. Not content with the status-quo, Hyundai decided to go another route. They fixed everything that was wrong, re-vamped the exterior, designed a new interior,  and poured on a lot more horsepower. Did it work? We took the ’13 Coupe out for a day long beating on the track and have the answer.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe - Photo Zane Merva /

A new look, inside and out

Walk up to a 2013 Genesis Coupe and you’ll immediately see differences from prior years.  The Coupe has an entirely new front end, headlights, and hood.  Styled to follow Hyundai’s current brand design philosophy, the new Genesis Coupe could very well be mistaken for a Veloster at first glance.  With that said, it’s quite good looking. Where-as the previous generation Gen-Coupe was soft and rounded, the 2013 iteration looks downright mean.

New LED tail-lights are standard on all models, as are the new headlights, hood, and grille. LED running lights and fog-lights are an option on the V6 model only.  We understand the desire to set a premium image for the V6 but think the LED running lights should also be standard.

Inside, the new look continues. The cheap-looking plastic dash pad from previous generations is gone. So is the the entire center console as we knew it.  In its place is an upscale, soft touch, stitched-leather-like masterpiece that you would expect from a 370Z.  So revamped is the interior, only the door panels and air-vents are carry-overs from the out-going model.

More power from both engines

While a refreshed exterior and new interior are note-worthy all by themselves, the icing on this cake is the extensive modifications Hyundai has made to the two engines available on the Genesis Coupe. The 2.0T has a new twin-scroll turbocharger and a larger intercooler.  Along with some additional tuning, the turbo produces a shocking 64-horsepower gain for 2013 and rests at 274-horsepower.

The 3.8L V6 has also gotten a power-boost. Now with direct injection, the high-end Genesis improves with 42 more ponies. It now makes a 370Z and 335i beating 348-horsepower. Yes, that’s right, the 2013 Genesis Coupe V6 is more powerful than the 2013 Nissan 370Z.

With further refinement in the engine lineup, Hyundai also took the time to fix the sloppy manual transmission. A new bolt style shifter is precise, quick, and flickable. Also new, an 8-speed automatic transmission is now the alternate transmission choice. While silky smooth and always in the perfect gear, the automatic fails at being anything near sporty.  With no rev-matching on downshift and slower shifting overall we resoundingly prefer the manual.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe - Photo Zane Merva /

Behind the wheel

We had a chance to drive the Genesis Coupe at Spring Mountain Motorsports for the good part of a day. First, we were impressed that Hyundai would challenge us to thrash on the new Coupe at a track with no restrictions. After just a few laps, we knew why. The new Genesis is crazy good.

The additional horsepower was immediately apparent. No longer is the 2.0T the runt of the powertrain choices. In fact, around the track we preferred the 2.0T as it’s lighter weight was easier to throw around.  Should you prefer more low-end torque the 3.8L V6 will do a damn good job as well.

Easy to hustle, the Coupe is a balanced platform that is extremely fun to drive. After each set of hot laps we couldn’t wipe the smile off our faces.  Slightly prone to under-steer when pushed, the Genesis is great for new enthusiasts and seasoned professionals alike.  Unlike heavier feeling competitors (cough…Mustang…Camaro), the Genesis feels light on its feet and predictable. You get the feeling that you can push the car without fear of it biting back. That confidence is worth quite a bit on the track.

If the 2013 Genesis has any faults, it’s the tires. Hyundai chose to fit the Genesis with more durable rubber than we would have preferred. While fine on the street, the lack of grip really shows on the track. The new duo of wheels that rubber can be fixed to, on the other hand, are racy and exciting.  Revised and optional Brembo brakes do not disappoint under the most demanding conditions. Even after multiple hot laps, the Brembos didn’t fade or lose braking pressure.

 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe - Photo Zane Merva /

What we liked:

  • Impressive horsepower gains for both engine choices
  • Revised exterior and interior styling is classy and high-tech
  • New exhaust is throaty and mean on both engines

What we didn’t:

  • Stock tires don’t let the vehicle perform to its highest potential
  • Dash-pad “stitching” is fake and it shows
  • 8-speed auto isn’t sporty enough and doesn’t rev-match on downshifts

First Impression

Hyundai has smoothed over the faults in the Genesis Coupe from the initial go-around. Higher horsepower, revised brakes, a new interior/exterior, and a snappy manual shifter move the Genesis Coupe up a few rungs in the performance ladder but for an increased price.  V6 Mustang, 370Z and Camaro owners should be, how do we put this….  very concerned.

More Photos of the 2013 Genesis Coupe


Specs as Tested

2.0L Turbocharged 4-cylinder: 274-horsepower, 276 lb-ft torque
3.8L V6: 348-horsepower, 295 lb-ft torque

Fuel Economy (auto/manual)
2.0T: 20/21mpg-city & 31/30mpg highway
3.8L:  18/18mpg-city & 38/27mpg highway

Base Price: $26,375
Top Price: $35,125

 Editor’s Note: This review was conducted at a manufacturer sponsored event.  Transportation, lodging, and food were provided by Hyundai.  No editorial consideration was given in return. 

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  1. Andy February 22nd, 2012 1:19AM

    I’ve been trying to compare the two cars, the 2013 genesis coupe and the 2012 370z. As far as power and handling goes, how would you compare the two vehicles? Does the genesis coupe have a better torque feel than the 370z? Does the 370z still handle better than the genesis coupe?

    • Zane Merva February 22nd, 2012 10:21AM

      That’s a tough one, Andy. I think the 370Z is rougher around the edges than the Gen Coupe but you’d probably get very similar performance out of the two. I’ve heard that the 370Z may not be as tough or durable on the track (over-heating, brake fade) as the 2013 Genesis Coupe is. I absolutely went full out on a what was a stock Hyundai straight from the factory and it didn’t start to show any weaknesses, even after four or five hot laps in a row.

  2. andrey February 26th, 2012 3:44PM

    Genesis has more low rpms torque, and as far as handling goes: genesis front tires are just too narrow to show what car can really do. Put same width tires in the front as in the back (245 instead of 225) and you will eliminate under-steer.
    I understand that narrow front tires are cheaper and better for fuel economy, but Hyundai should have offered option of different size tires or have r-spec come with tires that are not undersized for the car weight.

  3. darren June 27th, 2012 11:22PM

    i own a hyundai genesis coupe 3.8 and it is a very fun car, i am impressed with the handling it turn fast and all around it’s the best for the price, i’ve raced cameros and mustangs and on windy roads i leave them behind but i gotta get wider tires like you said(245 instead of 225)then put an after market cold air intake and high flow muffler and i would love too see how it would handle then

  4. cielo July 13th, 2012 5:05PM

    Nice article!

    By the way, 3.8L produces 38mpg in highway? Or is that a typo.


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