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Review: Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track

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Old 03-05-09, 06:00 PM   #1
mmarshall
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Default Review: Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track

By multiple CL member request, a Review of the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track.


http://www.hyundaigenesis.com/coupe/


In a Nutshell: An superb-driving sports-coupe and serious BMW-fighter, but saddled with some cheap interior and trim materials.


















There seems to be widespread CL interest in the new Hyundai Genesis coupe, and I received several requests from CL members for a full-length review. Why Hyundai did not bring a regular, street-version Genesis Coupe to the D.C. Auto Show last month beats me. The car was very soon to be introduced at local dealerships (they just started coming in a few days ago), and, IMO, Hyundai should have had a normal, production model on the floor, unlocked. Normally, Hyundai is one of the best auto companies in the buisness at displaying new models for public access at auto shows without restrictions, but not this time. All they had was a Coupe painted an odd, military-style, gray/green camoflauge....up on a stand, and locked. Go Figure.

Well, no matter. The Coupe is now at Washington-area dealerships, ready to go, but not in large numbers. Most local Hyundai shops only have one or two in stock right now, but more are on the way. Still, even in the tight auto-buying market right now, I would only expect minor discounts for new Genesis coupes....and that's with some bargaining. Often, new sport-coupes and sports-cars can command a mark-up, and the Genesis coupe probably would too, if there were normal auto-buying times. But this year is clearly NOT buisness as usual. Dealerships will HAVE to discount and/or offer credit if they want to sell cars this year, but with the strong public and auto-press interest in this car, there still are not a lot of incentives for heavy discounts.

Hyundai is introducing the Genesis Coupe as a sequel to the Genesis sedan, but the two models, in my view, couldn't be further apart. About all they share is the Hyundai badge on the grille and the 3.8L V6 engine block (a 4.6L V8 is optional on the sedan). Not only the exteriors, but the interiors are radically different as well. I was very impressed with the Genesis sedan's interior, but far less impressed with the Coupe's, which seemed much more cheaply-done (more on that below). But the coupe makes up for it, at least in the 3.8 Track version, by being an superb-driving sport-coupe...one of the best moderately-priced Drivers' cars I've seen outside of BMW (also more on that below).

6 different Genesis Coupe models are offered, for now (or will be offered), in the American market. These include the 2.0T, 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Track, 3.8, 3.8 Grand Touring, and 3.8 Track. All 2.0T models come with a turbo 2.0L four, with 210 HP and 223 Ft-lbs. of torque....it is somewhat similiar to the one that VW/Audi uses with the same displacement. The 2.0T and 2.0T Premium come with a choice of a close-ratio, 6-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed paddle-shift Shiftronic automatic; the 2.0T Track comes only with the manual. All 3.8 versions, including the Track, come with a 3.8L V6 with 306 HP and 266 Ft-lbs. of torque, and the choice of the 6-speed manual or a 6-speed ZF paddle-shift Shiftronic automatic. Both the 2.0T and 3.8 Track versions also include a Torsen limited-slip differential.

As I mentioned above, not many Genesis Coupes are in stock right now. A Hyundai shop fairly close to my house had an automatic, silver/Black leather, 3.8 Track model ready to go, and offered a solo test-drive, without a salesman riding along, so I jumped at the chance (I knew a number of several CL members were waiting for a review).

I really enjoyed this test-drive....as much as I do with BMWs (and the controls on this car were far less complex than many BMWs). The 3.8 Track is an absolute blast behind the wheel, although, of course, as a responsible driver, I didn't abuse it, or red-line the engine.

So, what is this remarkable (for the price) sport-coupe really like? Coming right up.






Model Reviewed: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track Automatic.


Base Price: $31,000


Options:


Carpet Mats: $95

I-Pod Cable: $30



Destination/Freight: $750


List Price as Reviewed: $31,875




Drivetrain: RWD, Longitudionally-mounted, Dual-CVVT, 3.8L V6, 306 HP @ 6300 RPM, Torque 266 ft-lbs. @ 4700 RPM, ZF 6-speed paddle-SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission, Torsen Limited-slip differential.


EPA Mileage Rating: 17 City, 27 Highway,



Exterior Color: Silverstone

Interior: Black Leather





PLUSSES:


Smooth, torquey V6 gives good throttle-response.

Superlative Brembo brake package approaches perfection.

Heavy-Firm, smooth steering feel approxomates that of BMW.

Right-Now steering/handling response with super-flat cornering.

Firm, but not harsh, ride quality.

Fairly short turning radius.

Handsome (IMO) exterior styling.

Excellent silver paint job.

Good rear visibility by coupe standards.

Reasonably solid doors.

Rock-solid hood.

Excellent underhood layout.

Superb-quality exterior mirrors.

Well-finished trunk.

Insulation pad for the under-trunk-lid.

Remote, trunk-accesable, rear-seat release.

Nicely-shaped, well-contoured, comfortable front seats.

Well-done, clear, easy-to-read gauges.

Nice-sounding Infinity stereo.

Reasonably good interior hardware.

Fairly nice interior metallic and chrome trim.

Good front head/room/legroom if seats are adjusted low.

Tight, solid parking-brake handle/cable.

Comfortable-to-hold steering wheel.

Nice engine start/stop button.

Generally well-designed buttons/controls.

Nicely-done headliner and sun visors.

Excellent paint-color choice.

Excellent Hyundai warranty, but with limited transferability.






MINUSES:


Cheap-feeling, uncomfortable plastic door panels/armrests.

Cheap-looking upper-dash and instrument-bin panels.

Relatively flimsy vent adjusters.

Awkwardly-mounted power mirror/window/lock switches.

Annoying, zig-zag shift lever motion in full-automatic mode.

Awkwardly-hinged shift paddles on the steering column.

Unimpressive perforated seat leather.

NAV not (?) offered.

Very tight rear headroom/legroom typical of many coupes.

Temporary spare tire unworthy of this vehicle class.

Very small trunk opening for loading.

Trunk-lid sheet metal not as solid-feeling as doors/hood.

Tacky plastic spoiler on trunk lid.

Shallow trunk space.

Brake/gas pedals not particularly well-placed for large feet.

No underhood insulation pad.

Somewhat weak-feeling, single underhood gas-strut.

Cheap-looking, flat-black outside window moldings and lower front/rear trim.

Low-contrast, rather hard-to-read shift-indicator and odometers.

Long (and limited) Hyundai warranty not transferable outside of immediate family.

10/100 drivetrain warranty only good on Hyundai-sourced parts, rest get 5/60.






EXTERIOR:

The first impression of the Coupe, as you walk up to it, of course, is that of a totally different vehicle than the Genesis sedan.....which, of course, it is. The general exterior styling is that of a somewhat larger, cat-eyed, swept-up-beltline Tiburon, the smaller coupe in the Hyundai family. I generally liked the look and found it handsome, though I didn't care for the interupted, double-beltline look just above the two door handles. Still, it is stylish enough to look sporty, and conservative enough not to look outlandish....an ideal combination, IMO, for a sports-coupe. The silver paint job on my test car was extremely well done, with no visible orange peel; it reminded me of some of the classic Silver Mercedes paint jobs I've seen. The sheet-metal feel and quality was rock-solid on the hood, generally solid on the doors, and noticeably less solid for the trunk lid. The big, plastic spoiler on the trunk lid was rather tacky, and, of course, it makes the trunk lid more difficult to wash and dry. The allow wheels, IMO, are generally good-looking, although the 5-split-spoke design is not one of my favorites. I generally prefer the classic 5-spoke mag design. The two outside mirrors were extremely well-done (some of the best I've seen), with a good square shape, adequate viewing area, integrated turn signals, and a DURABLE housing. They also snap/swivel and lock very firmly, without any of the cheapness/looseness found in many domestic vehicles and some non-domestics as well.


Also unlike many other vehicles today, the paint-color choice is excellent....though, of course, I had to judge mostly from the paint-chip colors and not on the vehicles themselves, as few if any other Coupes were in stock. In addition to the usual (and expected) white, silver, gray, and black, the Coupe offers a number of colors that don't look like Harold's Mortuary and actually keep you awake.....Bright yellow (3.8 Track only), bright red, lime green, and bright blue. A lighter, attractive, silvery blue is also offered. A big flaw, though, IMO, on the exterior (and perhaps due to cost-cutting), is the cheap-looking and cheap-feeling flat-black plastic window mouldings and the equally cheap looking/feeling flat-black plastic panels under both the grille and rear-bumper. Hyundai, up to now, had been using better and better-quality trim with each succeding new model, but (maybe?) corporate money is getting as tight in Korea now as it is here in the U.S.





UNDERHOOD:

Open the solid hood, and there is some more evidence of cost-cutting, as only one large gas strut, on the right side, instead of two smaller ones, holds the hood up. There is no underhood insulation pad (a feature found in some econocars)...only bare sheet metal. The single gas strut works adequately, but feels somewhat weaker and more wobbly than the two normal struts. Under the hood, however, there is little to complain about....the general layout and design is excellent. The fore/aft mounted 3.8L V6 fits in well enough to allow access to most of the upper components on each side of the block, and a few of the lower ones a well. There is no big plastic engine cover on top like there is in the Genesis sedan, so most of the things on top of the engine can be reached as well. The battery is in back, uncovered, on the left side of the engine. All dipsticks (yes, a real oil DIPSTICK, none of that computer oil-monitoring stuff), are easily accessable, as are the filler caps and fluid reserviors. HERE is the way an upmarket car should be laid out under the hood....BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, Mercedes, etc.....are you listening?





INTERIOR:

In general, I wasn't impressed with the Coupe's interior (far less so than with the much more plush interior of the Genesis sedan), though, admittedly, there were some nice things inside......I'll cover those now. The front seats were comfortable and well-bolstered, and guys like me with big rears, legs, and torsos had no problem fitting in. The two primary gauges are clear and easily-read, with the now-traditional red/white/blue markings. The steering wheel was comfortable to hold, wih flat leather stitching. The glove box and console-compartment lid had good snap-lock hardware....weak points in many vehicles. The stereo/climate buttons/***** were generally well-done and easy to use, though I didn't like the read outs separate at the top of the dash. The Infinity stereo had nice sound quality (it was nice to hear Alice Cooper do "School's Out" again...hadn't heard that one for awhile). The chrome and siver-metallic trim on the steering wheel, door handles, and upper-console, though painted-plastic, seemed to be well-done. Visibility out the back, from the drivers' seat, beacuse of way the rear window, C-pillar, and rear quarter windows are designed, is quite good by coupe standards.....I could easily watch for cops behind me (just kidding). The headliner, sun-visors, and sunroof pull-cover all had nice, plush-feeling cover material. And, under the headliner, front seat headroom is OK for tall drivers if you adjust the seat cushion way down.

But the rest of the interior, IMO, was not one of my favorites. The blue/black readouts for the odometer, shift indicator, and stereo/climate readouts were not particularly easy to read at a glance. The vent-control fins and thumbwheels have a flimsy, cheap feel to them. The shift lever for the transmission has the common (and annoying) zig-zag feature in the non-Sport mode. The power-mirror, power door-lock, and power-window switches are mounted vertically on the door panels instead of the more common horizontal mode on the arm rests.....that makes tham somewhat awkward to use at first. The door arm rests themselves are uncomfortable and have apairly hard-plastic surface. The door panels are done in big pieces of cheap, flat-black plastic. The upper-dash panel and upper-instrument bin cover, also flat-black plastic, are also rather cheap-feeling and, IMO, not very pleasant to look at.....though the dash cover's knitted-grain feature is not bad. The front seat cushions have nice power controls, but the seat backs have a cheap-feeling, flimsy, twist-lever for rake adjustment. I'm not a NAV fan and don't particularly care myself, but for those who DO want a NAV, it does not seem to be offered as an option..........my test car didn't have it, and I couldn't find the option in the brochure, though the usual I-Pod, XM, MP3, Bluetooth, etc......are all there as usual. Like with many cars nowadays, I wasn't impressed with the look or feel of the perforated leather on the seats, though I've seen worse, even on vehicles that cost twice as much. And, of course, being essentially a mid-sized coupe (markedly smaller than the Genesis sedan), and having a sharply-raked rear roofline, the rear seats are very tight on both head and legroom for normal-sized adults (not to mention being hard to enter/exit). Consider this car, like many coupes, a 2+2....the rear seats for occasional use by children or very short adults.

I also felt that the mostly all-black leather interior, broken only by some chrome/metallic trim here and there, was a little too much like a coal mine for me, but two-tone black/red and black/brown interiors are offered (depending on exterior color) for a little more spruce inside.




CARGO AREA/TRUNK:

Like the interior, the cargo area, though rather well-finished and with some handy features, is not, IMO, one of the car's more impressive features. The sharply raked-back roofline (typical of many coupes) cuts deeply into the size of the trunk-lid, resulting in a rather narrow-slit of an opening that doesn't do much to allow bulky bags and packages in. Even with the lid and the tacky spoiler up all the way, it is clear that this is no Chevy Suburban, though smaller and reasonable-size cargo can be carried if not too tall. Still, the cargo area is somewhat on the shallow side...there's no getting around that. If you are going to the furniture store for a purchase, leave the Genesis Coupe at home and take the Santa Fe or Veracruz (with the seats folded, of course).

The cargo area itself, though, notwithstanding its rather small size, is pretty nicely-finished. Thin but nice black carpeting covers the trunk floor and both side walls. An under-trunk-lid insulation pad helps absorb some of the inevitable rear-end tire noise. A handy, remote, ****/ pull-cable at the very rear allows you to drop the rear seats for more cargo area (and you may often need the extra space), and, of course, you can do it from inside the car as well. But open up the trunk's floor panel and you'll see that the bean-counters have struck here, too....a temporary spare tire takes the place of the real spare tire/wheel that would be expected in a car of this class.






ON THE ROAD:

OK, guys, I've know I've been b**ching for several paragraphs now about the trim/hardware and interior, but here is where the b**ching stops. It's easy to see where Hyundai put the development money here.....chassis and drivetrain. This car, on the road, is a superb sports coupe, and here is where we get the payback for the car's other mediocre features. I enjoyed driving it even more than the Nissan 370Z several weeks ago....this car is a serious BMW-fighter in its road manners, and you can bet it will command some respect among enthusiasts.

Foot on the brake, start the 3.8L V6 with a proximity key fob and a start button on the dash...now common among upmarket vehicles. The engine fires up smoothly and not-so-quietly, with an audible but not loud exhaust tone. Throttle tip-in (a drive-by-wire system) is a little jumpy from rest under some conditions, other times smoother, so you don't want to be right up on the guy's bumper in front of you when you start up. Give it some gas under way, though, and the 306 HP and 266 ft-lbs, in this fairly light (3389 lbs, empty) RWD coupe give you a healthy shove in the back as you surge forward. It's not quite Corvette or Dodge Viper acceleration, but this engine will definitely get out of its own way. The maximum 266 ft-lbs, at 4700 RPM, is not enormous on paper (comparable to that of many competing V6s), but the torque curve feels quite flat.....the power starts coming on at low RPMs. And, again, the exhaust drone, though somewhat flat and nasal in tone, lets you know that you are in a sport-oriented vehicle, but not to the point of assaulting your ears.

The ZF 6-speed SHIFTRONIC transmission is also first-rate, being marred only by the afore-mentioned zig-zag shifter (which is usually not a factor on the road) and the somewhat awkwardly-mounted and hinged column shift-paddles that force you to pull them back on the bottom of them instead of the more usual top/bottom motion. But, in its sport-shifting characteristics, this is probably the best transmission I've seen since the superb VW/Audi DSG I've praised so much in other reviews. Sport-shift lever or paddles, the transmission responds instantly and with NO delay....flick a gear and you've got it right now, no nonsense. And the instant shifting is accomplished without any harshness or bumpiness....difficult for engineers to do a conventional, torque-converter automatic.

And, if the drivetrain is well-done, the chassis is even better (yes, on a Hyundai). Steering response is Miata-quick, almost to the point of being darty. Steering feel is nice, firm, much heavier than in any other Hyundai I've driven, and comes very close to the telepatic-feel of BMW systems (not quite, but very close). Cornering is sports-car flat, with virtually no body roll.....even when I gave the wheel some pretty sharp tugs. The turning radius, at low speeds, is short enough to give it good manuverability in tight quarters, too. Ride comfort, with the 18", 45-series front and 19", 40-rear tires (they can't be rotated front/back), is, as expected, somewhat on the firm side, but, like BMW, Hyundai enginers have been able to combine a reasonably smooth ride for the superb level of handling this car has. Road noise level, while audible, is not bad (the extra trunk insulation helps), and wind noise, despite the cheap window mouldings on the exterior, is not bad either.

And, does this car stop as well as it goes? You bet......and then some. Like the transmission and steering, the big, red-caliper, Brembo brake package (standard on Track models) hauls the car down from speed like a battleship anchor tossed out of a canoe. Pedal response is literally instantaneous, quicker even than on many German sports sedans I've tried, including some BMWs. There is no detectable sponginess at all, though the rotor/pad feel, while extremely smooth, is not quite as smooth as on some Audis I've driven. The only thing I didn't like about the brakes was where they placed the pedal...it is too high and close to the gas pedal for my tastes, and I had to be careful not to get my big circus-clown size 15 shoes hung-up under the brake pedal when lifting off the gas. And the gas pedal itself is too close to the console for my tastes, too.





THE VERDICT:

Well, guys, you can tell, from my review, that I took a lot of notes while doing the interior/exterior static reviews (many of them, of course, negative), but then got one of the surprises of my life when I started it up and actually drove it. Hyundai did skimp somewhat on trim and hardware, but, in return, has given us a serious BMW-fighter. This is, without a doubt, IMO, the best sport-oriented vehicle, stock from the factory, ever to enter the American market from a Korean manufacturer. That they can do so for only 32K makes this car an even more remarkable buy...but, of course, that reflects some of the trim and interior cost-cutting (you can't have your cake and eat it too).

Of course, I reviewed.....and drove.....the top-of-the-line 3.8 Track model, which is clearly the most sport-oriented of the various Coupe models. While I did not drive and compare the lesser Coupe models (indeed, I couldn't, for almost none were available), it's probably a safe bet to say that one should not expect quite this level of performance with the lesser.....and less expensive......versions. Still, my guess, based on what I've seen with the 3.8 Track, is that even the lesser versions won't have much, on the road, to apologize for.

Congragulations, Hyundai, for a superb sport-coupe, at a reasonable price.

Last edited by mmarshall; 03-06-09 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:06 PM   #2
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Thanks Mike for your honest and detailed review once again I really love what Hyundai is offering a sporty 2 door coupe that's RWD. Toyota/Subaru come on we can't wait for 2 more years to release your 2 door sporty coupe, you're too late to the party once again.

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Old 03-05-09, 06:07 PM   #3
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very nice.
there is not just widespread CL interest in this car. all car enthusiasts are interested. i mean, RWD coupe with good styling and a 10 yr warranty for low $20's. who wouldn't be interested.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:10 PM   #4
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awesome read!! wow!! you are the best!!
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Old 03-05-09, 06:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rsantiago View Post
Thanks Mike for your honest and detailed review once again
Sure. Anytime.

Quote:
I really love what Hyundai is offering a sporty 2 door coupe that's RWD. Toyota/Subaru come on we can't wait for 2 more years to release your 2 door sporty coupe, you're too late to the party once again.
Toyota, if it is going to do a new RWD coupe, probably doesn't need Subaru. That new coupe will likely have AWD, then....what Subaru specializes in.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by shyguy16 View Post
very nice.
Thanks.


Quote:
there is not just widespread CL interest in this car. all car enthusiasts are interested. I mean, RWD coupe with good styling and a 10 yr warranty for low $20's. who wouldn't be interested.
Low 20's won't buy a 3.8 Track model, but, of course, there are lesser 3.8 and 2.0T versions.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:22 PM   #7
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i guess you have a high standard for the interior. i thought it was nicely done especially the brown leather, and simple layout. sure it's not lexus or can't be compared to luxury cars, but i thought it held its own against other 25k cars.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:25 PM   #8
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awesome read!! wow!! you are the best!!
Thanks But how about Jeremy Clarkson? isn't HE the best?
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Old 03-05-09, 06:29 PM   #9
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i guess you have a high standard for the interior. i thought it was nicely done especially the brown leather, and simple layout. sure it's not lexus or can't be compared to luxury cars, but i thought it held its own against other 25k cars.
The Coupe's interior is not junk by any means (certainly not like, say, a Dodge Caliber, Ford Focus, or Jeep Compass). But, to my tastes, it wasn't anywhere near as well done as the Genesis sedan's. It also seemed to reflect the fact that Hyundai, obviously, put a lot of money into the chassis and drivetrain instead, leaving less left over for other things.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:34 PM   #10
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Thanks But how about Jeremy Clarkson? isn't HE the best?
He's more of a comedian right ? Thanks for another detailed and well written review
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Old 03-05-09, 06:39 PM   #11
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I enjoyed the review. I liked what I saw at the car show but have been too busy to drive one later. Good to hear the value is there.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:41 PM   #12
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agreed, but genesis sedan and coupe is a completely different car though. i think you gotta compare it to mustang, rx8, civic SI, ms3 and etc. i think it's not a class leader, but above avg.

anyway, i can't believe you liked it more than 370z. that's a shocker! wow! what's your opinion on gen coupe vs g37 coupe? from what i've read, it's almost up there with g37coupe. how would you compare the two?
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Old 03-05-09, 06:48 PM   #13
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Thanks for another detailed and well written review
Sure. Anytime.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:51 PM   #14
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I enjoyed the review.
Thanks.



Quote:
I liked what I saw at the car show but have been too busy to drive one later. Good to hear the value is there.
Drive a 3.8 Track, if possible. I don't think you will be disappointed. It will probably even have more spunk with a manual....mine, of course, was the Shiftronic.
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Old 03-05-09, 06:59 PM   #15
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agreed, but genesis sedan and coupe is a completely different car though. i think you gotta compare it to mustang, rx8, civic SI, ms3 and etc. i think it's not a class leader, but above avg.
I know the coupe and sedan were meant to be different, but just how much so was like night and day.

I don't think you can compare a Genesis coupe to a Mustang, which is essentially a pony car, not an upscale sport-coupe. Non-Cobra Mustangs don't even have IRS.....they are still carring a live axle in the back, which is done primarily for its durability and resistance to damage from burnouts, which a lot Mustang GT owners do. The Civic Si, while a nice little sport coupe (a sedan Si is also available now), is smaller and cheaper than the Genesis Coupe, and, IMO, not in the same class. Same with the Mazdaspeed 3...it is a relatively crude-driving, but spunky little pocket-rocket, not an upscale vehicle like the Genesis.



Quote:
anyway, i can't believe you liked it more than 370z. that's a shocker! wow! what's your opinion on gen coupe vs g37 coupe? from what i've read, it's almost up there with g37coupe. how would you compare the two?
I haven't driven the g37 coupe, so I can't compare it directly. But I have driven the Altima coupe. It has some similiarities, but is FWD to the G37's RWD and AWD. I think the Genesis 3.8 Track, on the road, is clearly superior to the V6 Altima coupe, but the Altima is as good or better in the interior.

The two main things I didn't like about the 370Z was the silly way it did the instrument panel (see my review) and the manual transmission's shift linkage. Its V6 also did not seem to have much spunk at low RPMs like the 3.8 track did...you had to push it. And its brakes, while good, were not comparable to the 3.8 Track's superb Brembos.

Last edited by mmarshall; 03-05-09 at 07:07 PM.
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