On the road

Entering the New Year in the 3.8 Genesis Coupe

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The 2012-2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 looks more aggressive. PHOTOS BY AIDA SEVILLA-MENDOZA

Any New Year promises to be an exciting one if you enter it driving a 306-bhp sports car.

For seven days over the holiday weekend leading to New Year’s Day, a Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Coupe was in my custody. With its bright yellow body color, sleek, low-slung profile, blacked-out hexagonal grille, boy-racer faux hood vents and LED daytime running lights, the Genesis Coupe turned heads and earned admiring glances almost everywhere.

2013 is the Genesis Coupe’s third year, having been introduced to the global market by Hyundai Motor Co. in 2009 for the 2010 model year, replacing the unlamented Tiburon coupe. The 2013 Genesis Coupe variants offered by Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), the Philippine importer and distributor of Hyundai vehicles, are (as of Nov. 15, 2012) the 2.0 liter turbo with 6-speed manual transmission (P1,518,000), with Brembo brakes (P1,818,000), with 8-speed automatic transmission (P1,838,00) and the 3.8-liter V6 with 6-speed MT and Brembo brakes (P1,958,000) and with 8-speed AT (P1,988,000).

The Gen Coupe 3.8 loaned to me is a 2+2 rear-wheel drive car with a sunroof. It has a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter, V6 front engine/with twin cam CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control), multi-point fuel injection, an 8-speed electronic AT with lock-up torque converter and clutch-less manual mode, HID headlights, Torsen limited slip differential, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) integrated with the Traction Control System (TCS) that can be turned off fully or partially, a MacPherson strut dual-link front suspension with stabilizer bar and strut tower bar, a 5-link independent rear arrangement with stabilizer bar, ventilated disc brakes in front, solid discs at the rear, 19-inch alloy wheels, gas-pressurized shock absorbers, rear spoiler with high-mount stop lamp and chrome-tipped dual tailpipe exhausts emitting a  nice throaty growl.

LAMBDA V6. The powerplant in the 2013 3.8 Gen Coupe sold by HARI is the port-injected RS 3800 Lambda V6 that delivers 306 bhp at 6300 rpm and 266 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm, not the new 3.8 Lambda V6 GDi engine with direct injection that increased horsepower to 348/6400 rpm and torque to 295 lb-ft/4700 rpm. Yet when you step on the gas, this less powerful 3.8 Gen Coupe accelerates as violently as a big American V8 muscle car, snapping your head back in your seat. It’s a near-muscle car that ideally should be fitted with Brembo brakes as standard equipment, but over here Brembo brakes are options that will cost you extra if you buy an 8-speed AT Gen Coupe. The MT variants are eminently suitable for drifting fun, by the way.

Bigger and heavier than the Toyota 86 which, after all, is offered as a lightweight sports car, the 3.8 Gen Coupe is nonetheless nimble for its size and quickly responds to pedal pressure with its ultra-rigid unibody chassis; sport-tuned spring damper and stabilizer bar settings plus the Torsen limited slip diff that provides better control and acceleration out of tight corners. The 8-speed electronic AT’s extra ratios not only boost fuel efficiency, its manual mode allows you to shift more aggressively and reach a final gear ratio for efficient highway cruising.  The 3.8 Gen Coupe sprints from standstill to 100 kph in less than six seconds and its top speed is said to be 250 kph.

However, the sport-tuned suspension provides a rather stiff and harsh ride. But then, the Genesis Coupe was designed by engineers to be a sports car, not a smoothly comfortable luxury sedan.

Inside, leather bucket seats, an 8-speed automatic gearbox, metal pedals

For the driver and front-seat passenger, the Gen Coupe is spacious with supportive leather bucket seats, plenty of legroom and less (for six-footers) headroom. The driver’s seat is 6-way power adjustable with power lumbar support, but the rear seat is suitable for small children only due to the rakish roofline and rear windshield. The back seat, though cushy, better serves when it is folded down to increase cargo volume in the shallow trunk which has a capacity of 10 cubic feet—enough to accommodate a golf bag.

LEATHER PACKAGE. The interior of the 3.8 Gen Coupe can be described as leather-packed with chrome accents: a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise controls and paddle shifters, leather gearshift knob with chrome coating, leather-wrapped center console, center door trim and parking brake lever. The 5.6-inch multi-function screen has a clock, audio and climate controls and displays the outside temperature while the trip computer shows average fuel consumption, average speed, instant fuel consumption, distance to empty and trip distance. The fully automatic air conditioner has a cluster ionizer and the audio system is the top-drawer Infinity.

Three gauges mounted on the center stack read out fuel consumption, torque output and oil temperature. These data may be useless for daily driving but they do add a sporty appeal to the cockpit. Perhaps what would be more appreciated by non-racers is the proximity key that allows you to enter and start the car without removing the key from your pocket.

The Lambda RSpec 3.8 liter V6 aluminum engine produces 306 bhp.

Driving a car as fast and as agile as this would be scary if it weren’t equipped with a complete suite of safety features. Aside from six airbags and smart keyless entry, the Genesis Coupe’s Electronic Stability Program is integrated with the Traction Control System and ABS with EBD, Cornering Brake Control, Brake Assist System, active headrests, front and rear parking assist system with buzzer, a door locking system with inside handle override, shift lever, speed-sensing auto door lock and impact-sensing auto door unlock

Summing up, the 3.8 Genesis Coupe is a worthy challenger and an affordable alternative to the V6 pony cars from Detroit. Now, if only HARI would bring in the direct injection 348 bhp RSpec 3800 Genesis Coupe, it could outrun them all.

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