2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

LAS VEGAS — Hyundai has unveiled its significantly redesigned 2013 Genesis Coupe. The sporty looking two-door has not only been refreshed with more aggressive exterior design, but has received a host of new technologies and a pair of new powerplants including a 348-horsepower V-6 that puts the it in the five-second 0-to-60 class and in competition with the segment's best vehicles.

Visually it strikes a more menacing demeanor with an aggressively redesigned front fascia, grille, headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lights and hood with heat extractor cues.

It sports a lower, arching roofline, broad shoulders and wide stance. One look at the new Genesis Coupe convinces anyone that this is not designed as the average family transportation vehicle. Truth-be-told it could become an object of division for those couples who will eventually fight over who gets to drive it.

What good is a rear-wheel drive sports car if there’s not an appropriate engine to go with it and as mentioned the 2013 Genesis Coupe has two; a 2.0-liter turbocharged, intercooled DOHC inline four-cylinder that benefits from Dual CVVT on both intake and exhaust camshafts. It generates 274 horsepower (a 30% increase) and 275 pound-feet of torque (23% increase).

The other powerplant is a 3.8-liter Lambda DOHC V-6 that pumps out a peak 348 horsepower (a 14% increase) and 295 pound-feet of torque (an 11% increase). All figures are based on premium fuel. The new Coupe is swift and has a 0-60 mph time in the low-5 seconds and its electronically-limited top speed is 149 mph.

The V-6 horsepower surpasses the vehicles two chief rivals — the 2012 Infiniti G37 Coupe and the 2012 BMW 335i Coupe. Same story with the four-cylinder blowing away its top two contenders — the 2013 Scion FR-S and the 2012 Honda Civic Si. Two other vehicles it competes against are the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro.

Both engines are mated to an extensively refined standard six-speed manual transmission and an eight-speed automatic with paddle-shift SHIFTRONIC manual-shift capability. Even though Hyundai touts what they call “driver-friendly shift gating,” I found the shift lever a bit too high. It required a learning curve to feel comfortable with it.

The clutch was reminiscent of the heavy-duty clutches from the muscle car era (though not to the point of needing legs like the Hulk” to depress it) and took some time to learn to avoid jerky acceleration and upshifting. The manual transmission itself, however, is definitely a smoothie. EPA fuel economy estimates are 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway for the 2.0-liter w/manual transmission (20/31 for the automatic) and 18/27 for the 3.8-liter manual (18/28 w/automatic).

Hydraulic, RPM-sensing rack-and-pinion steering has been recalibrated and is seven-percent quicker. Also, its sport-tuned suspension has also been precisely recalibrated to match the new powertrains with better road feel, more precise body motion control and improved ride comfort. I found that whether driving at high speeds, lower speeds or around curves, the new Genesis Coupe is a road hugger.

The interior is really well done and has been enhanced with distinctive, upscale features and design cues. The instrument panel crash pad features a stitched-seam appearance and the parking brake lever is leather-wrapped (on leather-equipped models). The instrument cluster features an electroluminescent gauge cluster offering excellent readability.

The deep-welled front seats keep the driver and front passenger comfortably locked down. Audiophiles are going to love the Genesis Coupe’s standard system or the upgraded model that allows all kinds of connective functions like iPods and other personal audio devices. There’s a whole array of technology functions available that make sense to those who understand them and awe to others who still use Ticonderoga #2 pencils and Goldenrod yellow lined tablets. Finally, as for interior room, there’s plenty of it…as long as you’re in the front seat. You might as well plan on using the rear seat for storage because it’s rather tight back there.

The 2013 Genesis Coupe comes with a host of safety features including strong unibody construction with front and rear crumple zones, a hood that includes buckling creases and safety stops, four-channel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control and many others. Furthermore, all Genesis Coupes are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program that includes a fully-transferable 5-year/60,00 mile new vehicle warranty, 10-year/100,000 powertrain warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

As one would expect there are a lot of packages so it’s conveniently easy to customize your vehicle. Considering the car the 2013 Genesis Coupe is and its standard content, the cost is less than one would expect to pay. MSRP is $24,250 for the 2.0L w/manual transmission up to $34,250 for the 3.8-liter with an automatic (plus $875 freight charges).

— Al Vinikour