Last Tuesday, Hyundai dropped off a 2013 Genesis Coupe 2.0T Premium for us to test. We had 1000 miles and seven days to see how it stacked up. So we planned a road trip from our headquarters in Upstate, NY to the summit of Mount Washington to find out.
For 2013, the Genesis Coupe got a full overhaul. Outside, the car gets a new wider-set front end that showcases a larger trapezoidal grille. The new hood includes a set of false intake grilles, breaking up the monotony of the large surface. Reshaped headlights and LED tail-lights also help distinguish the newer model. Finally, the Genesis Coupe has a fitting front end for its sporty demeanor. Under the skin, two new engines and transmissions back up the new looks with new-found performance. The 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder now makes 274 hp and 275 ft-lb torque, up significantly from 210 hp and 223 ft-lb in the outgoing power plant. Also available is a 3.8 liter naturally aspirated V6, producing 348 hp and 295 ft-lb torque. Either engine can be paired with a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic, the latter having a “Sport” and “Manual” mode with paddle shifters.
Multiple trim packages are available for either engine. Of note, the R-Spec (and 3.8 Track) include 19″ wheels, a rear wing, beefier suspension, a limited slip differential, and Brembo brakes. Our particular car was a 2.0T Premium with the 8-speed automatic. The Premium trim adds proximity key, a 360-watt Infinity sound system with 10 speakers, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment navigation system with SiriusXM radio to the list of standard features. It rang in at $29,625, almost exactly half-way within the $9,000 difference between the base 2.0T and the top-of-the-line 3.8 Track trim. In the rear-wheel-drive coupe market, it remains competitive in price and performance with the V6 powered Mustangs and Camaros with similar options. The new kid on the block, the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, also checks in around the same ballpark.
Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, rises 6,288 feet above sea level. Located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the mountain is famous for some of the worst weather conditions in the world. In boasts the second highest recorded wind speed in human history – 231 mph. It also features many different methods of arriving at the summit, from hiking trails that are part of the Appalachian Trail to a cog railway. In 1861, the Mount Washington Auto Road (then Mount Washington Carriage Road) was opened to the public.
The narrow 7.6 mile road climbs 4,618 ft to the summit with an average gradient of 11.6 degrees. Open seasonally and subject to weather closures, it is considered a challenge for drivers and their cars. Frequent scenic pull-offs offer uphill drivers free water “for radiators only” and downhill drivers parking spaces to allow their brakes to cool. Of course, what’s a road without a race. The Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race is the oldest auto race in the United States. The first race, in 1904, was won by a 60hp Mercedes in just over 24 minutes. The standing record rests with an Audi S2 from 1998 which made it to the summit in 6 minutes and 42 seconds. We took a leisurely 37 minutes.
The Hyundai ate up the miles of highway with ease. The engine quiets right down in 8th gear, leaving you with mostly road noise. The car is comfortable and the standard equipment keeps you abundantly entertained. We managed 2 hour stints before stopping to get out and stretch was absolutely required. One ergonomic problem is the placement of the MPG, Turbo Boost, and Oil Temperature gauges on the console. They’re set too far down to be seen while driving without looking away from the road. Beyond that, the car makes a perfect highway cruiser, being both efficient, and stable at speed.
The sweeping backroads of New Hampshire were much of the same. Its a thoroughly positive experience, but the spirited driving brings out some problems. The suspension starts to feel a little bit firm over unusually rough surfaces, more the fault of the roads than the car. Either way, the setup kept body roll to a minimum. One thing we couldn’t escape is the transmission. The 2.0T engine loves to rev, and the turbo pulls hard between 3 and 4k RPMs. This is where the car shines, with ample acceleration and some classic turbo whine. But the 8 speed automatic throws the dampers on in the name of economy before you ever get there. The engine is left emitting a hollow drone and feeling short on power. Worse, the transmission is slow to change down when the power is needed quickly. Of course, this can be remedied by stints in manual mode with the paddles. This is most rewarding for the driver and a manual transmission would mitigate this problem entirely.
Driving up the mountain was a completely different sensory experience, for both man and machine. We watched the oil temperature climb slightly, but hold at an acceptable level. The well bolstered seats, which provided comfort on the highway, held us in position as we traversed the steep road. The gearbox followed orders and held first gear as we ascended and descended the mountain, which was especially useful for engine braking. We got a bit worried about the open differential when the road transitioned to dirt, but we had no traction issues. With five minutes to cool down every few miles, the car performed flawlessly. The force fed engine was less phased by the thinner air than we were, climbing the last stint with ease. We needed a break at the top of some stairs. The upgraded Brembo brakes might have come in handy on the way down , but the standard setup held well without fading or losing pedal feel. Once back to base camp, the Hyundai cooled down and reverted back to level road normalcy, albeit with a new addition temporarily placed in its rear window.
While we were on our trip, we stopped into Somersworth Hyundai to test drive a Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track. While still plagued with the slow automatic gearbox, the V6′s linear power makes it easier to live with. It also makes a much smoother noise rather than the low-end drone of the 2.0T. Not only did this allow us to test the other powerplant, but all the extra additions that are included in the R-spec trim line. The Brembo brakes feel as though they have a bit more bite and the limited-slip differential (which we’re partial to, if you couldn’t tell) puts the power down evenly.
Overall, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T is a great car. The much improved engine is a turbocharged gem, rewarding a driver willing to fight back against the gearbox nanny. It’s a venerable highway cruiser, an enjoyable back road burner, and it’ll play a game of “king of the hill” in style. The Premium trim includes one of the best touch-screen systems we’ve ever used. After 976 miles, its hard to argue with a car so heavily geared towards enthusiasts. Just make mine an R-spec.