2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track review: Seoul. Low.

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track is anything but new. Oh, the idea of a ponycar from Korea is novel, but the overall concept has been done by a number of manufacturers, using roughly the same menu, over a number of decades. Engine goes in the front, power comes out the rear, and in between is a close-coupled 2-door coupe with ample room in front for two and – if push comes to shove – two of their (hopefully) short, anorexic friends in the back. Call it what you will, but in the end it’s a ponycar, a derivative take on something first fashioned when Kennedy was in the White House and China still regarded ‘capitalism’ as a four-letter word.

The Mustang has maintained the good fight (although Ford’s Mustang II is clearly exempted) over almost five decades, and both Chevy’s Camaro and Dodge’s Challenger have recently resumed the fight. Although annual sales are but a fraction of what they were in the ponycar heyday, the competitive segment has never been hotter.  Concurrent with the rising temp is an entrant that can serve as a coda to this generation of ponycar derivatives, as well as a prelude to what we might expect from the next round of redesigns. That entrant comes from Hyundai; they call it the Genesis Coupe.

To its advantage, the design of Hyundai’s ‘sporty’ coupe begins with a clean sheet of paper. Despite sharing a moniker with its larger, sedan-based sibling, the coupe and 4-door sedan have virtually nothing in common other than their V6 drivetrains. The coupe sheetmetal bears a passing resemblance to its front-wheel drive predecessor, the Tiburon, but in profile and proportion the Genesis Coupe is far closer to a G35/G37 Infiniti than it is to anything emanating from Korea. And we actually like the more youthful, lighter-on-its-feet vibe coming from the Hyundai than the more recent iteration of the G37. With its smallish greenhouse and expansive detailing, the Infiniti exercise is beginning to look dated.

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track

Rear spoiler is standard on 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track.

Under the Genesis hood you can pick from Column A or Column B. The former gives you a 2.0 liter turbocharged four with 210 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque. Notably, this powertrain – while basically the same as that gracing the Sonata sedan – does not receive the Sonata’s direct injection, and is some sixty horsepower shy as a result. Column B imbues the Genesis with 3.8 liters of V6, delivering 306 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. And while the Hyundai’s V6 matches the ponies of the Mustang, it falls some 10% short in its EPA highway numbers – 26 (manual) or 27 vs. 29 (manual) or 31 in the ‘stang.

We’ve driven the 2.0T connected to the 6-speed manual transmission and were – in a word – underwhelmed, as its 210 horsepower is seemingly overwhelmed by the coupe’s 3,300 pounds. And we wanted to like the twin-cam four and its inherent minimalism, but not without the direct injection it doesn’t (yet) have. Better in nearly all respects is the V6, which remains a compact installation, adds less than a hundred pounds to the coupe’s mass, and takes off like the proverbial scalded cat. With the V6 Road & Track magazine recorded a 0-60 sprint of 5.7 seconds and – presumably – were able to return the press vehicle to Hyundai under its own power.