Many car buffs like to wax nostalgic about the old days, but perhaps they haven't been following the latest news. After all, there are enough exciting new sport coupes on the market to quicken any driving enthusiast's pulse. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe may seem like an unlikely example, but this rear-wheel-drive sports coupe now has a standard 348-horsepower V6 engine, putting it on par with pricier performance cars. Combine that impressive output with responsive handling and a modest curb weight, and you have a recipe for the kind of good clean fun that some believe to be a thing of the past.
For 2015, Hyundai has refocused the Genesis Coupe squarely on performance, with eager acceleration from the big V6 (the turbocharged four-cylinder has been discontinued) and a bone-jarring ride from the firmer suspension that underpins the R-Spec and Ultimate trim levels. The base suspension is a nice compromise, though, and the rev-matching eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is an able substitute for the standard six-speed manual. The Genesis Coupe also adheres to Hyundai's philosophy of delivering more bang for the buck, including standard niceties like 18-inch alloy wheels, distinctive LED daytime running lights, keyless entry and ignition, automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. You also get the automaker's long warranty coverage.
The problem (at least for Hyundai, though it's a great thing for you the coupe shopper) is that the Genesis Coupe has numerous highly appealing rivals. The 2015 BMW 228i starts at around the same price as the top-of-the-line Genesis Coupe Ultimate, but the BMW offers a more prestigious image, and its 240-hp turbo-4 miraculously matches the big V6's acceleration. The compact 2015 Subaru BRZ and its 2015 Scion FR-S twin make up for their horsepower deficit with superior handling that's reminiscent of old-school sports cars. Then there's the swaggering, all-American 2015 Ford Mustang, which delivers jaw-dropping acceleration in V8-powered GT trim, with a sharper-handling turbocharged model offered as well.
Although such competitors make it harder for the Hyundai to stand out, it's always tough to argue with a genuine performance bargain. We're not sure if car buffs will be waxing nostalgic about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe someday, but we're positive that a test-drive would leave them pleasantly surprised.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a four-passenger sport coupe that's offered in three trim levels: base, R-Spec and Ultimate.
The base Genesis Coupe comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, heated outside mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, keyless entry and ignition, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, folding rear seatbacks, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input and a USB/iPod interface.
The R-Spec adds 19-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, firmer suspension tuning, larger Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential and front sport seats with more substantial side bolsters and a combination of leather and cloth trim.
Springing for the top-of-the-line Ultimate gets you those performance-oriented hardware upgrades plus xenon headlights, "aero wipers" said to perform better at higher speeds, a sunroof, rear parking sensors and a rear spoiler. Inside, the Ultimate adds illuminated door sill plates, leather upholstery and door panel trim, a power-sliding driver seat with power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, metallic interior trim, aluminum pedals, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics, a touchscreen navigation system with real-time traffic info and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system with satellite and HD radio.
There are no factory options for the 2015 Genesis Coupe.
Inside, it's clear the 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe was designed for people who like to drive. This is especially true with the R-Spec and Ultimate models' front sport seats, whose larger side bolsters are designed to keep you planted during enthusiastic cornering. Visibility is excellent all around, and the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel makes it possible for drivers of all sizes to fine-tune the seating position.
As a bonus, the front seats are also comfortable enough to make the Genesis Coupe a great road trip companion. The opposite is true for the two tiny rear seats, however, with their scarce head- and legroom limiting their usefulness to transporting the occasional small child -- or serving as a cargo shelf. To be fair, most sport coupes struggle in this regard, including the rival models we've mentioned. The trunk offers an adequate 10 cubic feet of cargo space that can be expanded by folding down the rear seatbacks.
Generally speaking, the passenger cabin sports an attractive design and decent-quality materials, though a smattering of rudimentary plastics and the center stack's tacky auxiliary gauge trio remind you that this isn't a 2 Series. Most controls are clearly marked and well-placed, and the available navigation system's 7-inch touchscreen is user-friendly, if graphically underwhelming. We aren't fond of the clunky standard iPod interface, or the underwhelming sound quality from both the standard audio system and the Ultimate model's premium 10-speaker Infinity setup.
Power for the rear-wheel-drive 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe comes from a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 348 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a standard six-speed manual gearbox and an optional eight-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
EPA fuel economy estimates are 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway) with the manual transmission and a nearly identical 19 mpg combined with the automatic, which delivers a slightly better 25 mpg highway rating.
In Edmunds performance testing, a 3.8 Genesis Coupe with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, a fine time for a V6-powered sport coupe.
From behind the wheel, it quickly becomes apparent that the 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe aims to entertain, with the gutsy 348-hp V6 producing both frenzied acceleration and a throaty exhaust note. While the six-speed manual gearbox might seem to be the natural choice for a sport coupe, its somewhat imprecise feel leaves us cold. The optional eight-speed automatic transmission is easy to recommend thanks to its standard paddle shifters, crisp upshifts and rewarding rev-matched downshifts.
The Genesis Coupe's standard suspension strikes a satisfactory balance between responsive handling and a livable ride quality. Moving up to the R-Spec or Ultimate's firmer suspension and larger wheels definitely ups the performance ante, but the downside is greater road noise and reduced ride comfort. That's a significant compromise, particularly given that the better-riding base Genesis Coupe is also more affordable. But there's no way around it if you want the Ultimate's exclusive interior features.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe's list of standard safety features includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
The available Blue Link telematics system provides roadside assistance, crash response, remote access and monitoring features (speed, geo-fencing and curfew limits) for parents with teenage drivers.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 3.8 R-Spec Genesis Coupe stopped from 60 mph in 116 feet, which is rather disappointing for a performance car with summer tires.
The 2015 Genesis Coupe returns with the 3.8-liter V6 as its only engine. Other changes include standard LED running lights across the lineup, and standard keyless entry/ignition and automatic climate control for the formerly bare-bones R-Spec trim.