First Drive: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8

When you think of Hyundai, the first thing that usually comes to mind is an affordable car with subpar design that is very unlikely to turn heads when you pull up in front of an “enthusiast” gathering. Actually, hardly anyone out there would consider a Hyundai owner a car enthusiast. Well, Hyundai is out to change all that and following its take on the luxury-segment with the Hyundai Genesis sedan, the Korean automaker is now offering a new rear-wheel-drive coupe that is sure to keep the enthusiast in you satisfied while attracting some attention to the sound coming from under your hood.

Meet the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 – Hyundai’s first attempt to compete in the high-performance rear-wheel-drive sports coupe segment. According to Derek Joyce, Hyundai’s main expert on the stateside for the Genesis Coupe, when the Korean automaker set out to plan the rear-wheel-drive sports coupe, it had three primary engineering benchmarks, including the Infiniti G37, Mazda RX-8 and the BMW 335i. While the 2010 Genesis Coupe is available with a 210-hp 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, those benchmarks apply mainly to the 3.8 model which is powered by the 3.8L V6 from the Genesis sedan making 306-hp. And since we wanted to see if Hyundai met those benchmarks, we chose to take the 3.8 model (3.8 Grand Touring to be exact) out for a 2-hour drive around Mount Kisco, NY.

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First Drive: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8:


Stand outside the 2010 Genesis Coupe and you’ll notice right away that Hyundai made it a point to distinguish the model apart from others in the Hyundai lineup. It features a sports car wedge design with a “Z”-shaped body character line and short overhangs and low cowl-to-axle distance. Nonetheless, many out there are sure to agree that the G37, RX-8 and the 335i are much more aggressive and sportier in appearance. Which is when you really start to wonder about the market the Genesis Coupe is competing in. At this point, after some debate with fellow auto journalists, we came to a conclusion that when you compare the Genesis Coupe to cars like the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Nissan 350Z, Honda Accord Coupe or the Nissan Altima Coupe, Hyundai’s rear-wheel-drive sports car starts to shine a little more. Throw on the available Track package and the red Brembo brake calipers, chrome-front accents, 19-inch gunmetal-finish alloy wheels and HID headlamps are sure to turn some heads.


Take a seat inside and you’ll realize that Hyundai has done its best to step-up its interior design and quality. Most of the center-console and dash has a very solid build while the ergonomic placement of buttons on the center-dash and steering-wheel keep the inside of the Genesis Coupe very driver-oriented. Standard interior features on the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 model include black leather seats, automatic temperature control, ‘Genesis’ door sill plates, driver”s Lumbar support, metalgrain and chrome interior accents, a keyless entry system, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, power auto one-touch windows, AM/FM/XM/CD Player and USB/iPod/Aux jack connectivity, steering wheel audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity. If you opt for the 3.8 Grand Touring model, Hyundai will throw in a Ÿ360-watt Infinity premium audio system, proximity key with push button start, heated brown leather seats, a sunroof and a backup warning system. A touch-screen navigation will also be made available later this summer.


So it looks pretty good and the interior is filled with features that you most likely wouldn’t expect in a Hyundai. But has Hyundai met its performance benchmarks and can it do what the Korean automaker wants it to do – which is steal customers from Infiniti, BMW and Mazda? Well, not exactly. By no means are we saying that the 2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8 offers disappointing performance figures or a dynamic sporty drive. While the rear-wheel-drive system and the 5-link independent system rear-suspension system are sure to put a smile in your face, the Genesis Coupe 3.8 is no match for the rear-wheel-drive, high-performance, power hungry G37, 335i or the Mazda RX8. However, as we said before, when you look at the 2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8 next to the Accord Coupe, Altima Coupe, Eclipse or the 350Z, you can be pretty sure that Hyundai is very likely to steal some customers from those three “affordable” sport coupes.

The 306-hp engine will push you from 0 to 60 mph in whopping 5.7 seconds and will let you keep going until 149 mph – performance figures that let the Genesis Coupe 3.8 shine amongst the Honda, Mitsubishi and Nissans. Hyundai has paid great attention to details that enthusiasts will appreciate, including a dual-link MacPherson strut front suspension and a Torsen limited-slip differential for enhanced acceleration and cornering dynamics. Opt for the 2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8T (Track) model and you’ll enjoy a track-tuned suspension and a Brembo monobloc fixed caliper braking system.

All 2010 Genesis Coupe models come standard with a close-ratio 6-speed manual but the 3.8 also offers a premium 6-speed ZF automatic with steering-wheel mounted paddle-shifters for a manual sport mode. We had the chance to drive both transmissions in 3.8 model and we have to say that while we prefer manual transmissions as enthusiasts, the 6-speed ZF automatic with SHIFTRONIC put a bigger smile on our face with very quick shifts at our flicks on the ‘-‘, ‘+’ paddles.


So Hyundai has grabbed your attention and is actually making you think about parking they’re first rear-wheel-drive sports coupe in your driveway – but how much does it cost? The 2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8 starts at $25,000 and will get you from 0 to 60 mph 5.7 seconds while you enjoy some of the standard features listed above. Opt for the $27,500 Genesis Coupe 3.8 Grand Touring and you’ll get heated brown leather seats, a sunroof, a rear-view mirror with a compass, keyless push-button start, a Infinity 380 watt sound system, backup warning system and HID headlamps. Try those kind of options at that price tag with a BMW 335i, Infiniti G37 or even the BMW 135i. While you’re at it, try finding all that packaged into an Accord Coupe, Altima Coupe, Eclipse or the 350Z at that price tag.

A fully loaded 2010 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Track model with the Brembo braking system, rear-spoiler and a track-tuned suspension will run you $30,260 with a 6-speed manual. Expect to pay in the $31,500 range for the 6-Speed ZF automatic with paddle shifters.

First Drive: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8:

– By: Omar Rana