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2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Wheelbase Media

When Hyundai wants to upgrade, it doesn’t mess around. None of this five- or 10-horsepower stuff, or dressing it up with doilies and stickers.

In case you missed it, Hyundai’s rear-drive four-seat coupe arrived for the 2010 model and shares the Genesis name with its big-brother four-door sedan. The similarities end right about there, though. While the sedan is all about cruising in style, the Coupe gets its kicks well away from the interstate, tackling two-lane back roads or, for some, smoking the tires and hanging the tail out on a closed autocross loop.

These and other activities will be significantly enhanced with the spring launch of the 2013 Coupe. Its arrival is indeed timely as this most unique Hyundai faces off against three new sporty competitors, including the front-wheel-drive 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe plus the 2013 Scion FR-S and closely identical Subaru BRZ, which are both rear-wheel-drivers. All four import-based cars form part of a “thin” market where sales volumes are low compared with sedans, wagons and pickup trucks and where each and every dotted-line conquest is critical.

In the hardware department, the Genesis Coupe is significantly altered from its 2010-’12 counterparts. Both the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo and optional 3.8-liter V6 have been power-enhanced and are accompanied by all-new optional eight-speed automatic transmissions with manual paddle shifters. Updated six-speed manual gearboxes are standard.

The four-cylinder receives a more efficient turbocharger that functions in tandem with a 53 percent larger intercooler to deliver cooler — and therefore denser — air to the intake manifold for added power. Those changes, plus other engine mods, contribute to a 30-percent increase in output; 274 horsepower on premium gas (260 when running on low-octane regular fuel) versus 210 for the 2012 edition.

Meanwhile, the V6 in the 3.8 R-Spec has been bumped to 348 horsepower from 306, which is a 14-percent increase. Credit here can be primarily attributed to a new direct fuel-injection system, whereby fuel is sprayed under extremely high pressure into the combustion chambers, instead of through the intake manifold.

According to Hyundai, the revitalized V6 can propel the R-Spec to 60 mph from zero in the “lower five-second range,” but the company hasn’t yet divulged times for four-cylinder 2.0 model. As for fuel economy, the four-cylinder equipped with eight-speed automatic is rated at 20 mpg city/31 highway (previously 21/30), while the V6’s numbers are 18 city/28 highway (up from 17/26).

A swift ride is one thing, but to accommodate the added power, Hyundai’s engineers also worked on the Coupe’s suspension. That involved a recalibrating the dampers (shocks) and adding beefier anti-roll bars, but one of the cooler modifications is the addition of a “sound induction tube” that pipes in the exhaust notes for the enjoyment of the occupants.

More performance-oriented suspension settings are found in the 3.8 R-Spec and the optional 2.0 R-Spec and 3.8 Track models, along with large Brembo-brand brakes and camber adjustment bolts for the front suspension. This weekend-warrior feature reduces the Coupe’s tendency to understeer when cornering (continuing in a straight line even with the steering wheel is turned) and will be appreciated by buyers who use their cars in weekend competition.

The mechanical changes to the 2013 Coupe have been matched with a more aggressive nosepiece featuring Hyundai’s open-moth grille that’s already in play with vehicles such as the Hyundai Veloster, Accent and Tucson. The headlights, fog lights and hood are new, as are the taillamps, and new-design 18- and 19-inch wheels have been installed, depending on the model.The makeover carries into the cabin with a new instrument panel and gauges on all models, including a turbo boost meter for the turbo and a real-time mpg gauge for the V6.

Hyundai has bumped up the turbo Coupe’s base price by $2,000 to $25,100, while the 3.8 R-Spec sees an identical $2,000 increase to $29,600. That makes both editions a bit less financially appealing, but likely won’t dissuade rapid-transit seekers who also appreciate an attractively packaged ride and the additional power. On both counts, the Coupe won’t disappoint.