Hyundai Genesis, 2011 car review

James Raia

The Hyundai Genesis coupe debuted two years ago as a 2009 model, and its styling, acceleration and fair price gave the Korean manufacturer a good, positive jolt in the auto industry.

But Hyundai has extended itself with the 2011 edition options, including the 3.8 liter, V6-powered R-Spec. Previously only available on the smaller-engined 2.0T, the R-Spec model combines 306 horsepower with a six-speed manual transmission. The R-Spec also showcases 19-inch wheels with a gunmetal finish, Brembo brake package with ventilated front rotors, stiffer suspension and sportier trim.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Normal, around-town driving and a few local freeway treks during a week’s test drive are sufficient. But on more than two dozen occasions since 2003, I’ve taken test cars to the Monterey Peninsula. None have performed better on the winding roads over Pacheco Pass and through the twisting, oddly cambered roads en route to Pebble Beach than the Genesis coupe.Hyundai Genesis, 2011 car review 1

The Genesis Coupe simply hugs the road. It embraces any corner, steep grade or drastic descent. If the shifting were a little smoother, the coupe could challenge even sports cars known for being, well, hot-damn sports cars.

My test was the 3.8 R Spec, one of six available trim levels. It has similar features to the 2.0T R-Spec, including 19-inch wheels with summer tires, Brembo brakes, a more firmly tuned suspension, limited-slip rear differential. But it adds the V6 engine.

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe


Exterior design. Geez, it’s handsome.

Interior design. Swooping, curved door and cabin panels. Unique, angled and convenient power window openers.

Maneuverability. It zips around traffic and corners like much more expensive sports cars.

Comfortable front seats.

Pleasant, deep engine growl.


Restrictive access to small back seats with limited leg and head room.

Manual shifting finicky and requires an aggressive approach.

Sub-par audio system.

Facts & Figures: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 5.9 seconds.
Airbags (6): Driver and front, side, rear body and side and read head airbags.
Antilock brakes: Standard.
First aid kit: Not available.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg (city), 26 mpg (highway).
Government Safety Ratings (1-5 stars): Driver protection (five stars), front impact (five stars), driver side impact (five stars), front passenger protection (four stars).
Engine: 306 horsepower, V6, six-speed manual.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,750.00
Price as tested: $31,690.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Drivetrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/unlimited miles; Corrosion 7 years/100,000 miles.
Manufacturer’s website:

What Others Say:

“Obviously, Hyundai has much to be proud of with its first rear-drive sport coupe. The value is unbeatable. The quality is tip-top. The road manners are respectable. The styling, with its unique Z-shaped character line and drop-beltline rear window, is standout . . . For an initial effort, in a field that it’s never played, Hyundai has delivered a solid, sexy product.” —- Motor Trend.

“Overall, the Genesis coupe looks like a solid commuter car for those looking to spice up their daily drives. It’s enjoyable but usable. You can park it. You can maneuver it. There’s room to put (some) stuff in it. And for a starting price of $22,750 with freight, this is within reach for a lot of people.” —- AutoWeek.

“Among sporty coupes, there’s nothing missing here—and the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is one of the best values in its class.” —-

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Hyundai, unheralded for years, is all the rage these days, with its Sonata, Genesis, Elantra and other models. The Genesis coupe is another strong effort from the Korean-American company. If the awkward shifting of the manual transmission coupe is improved, the Genesis Coupe will be another unqualified success.”

Article Last Updated: February 23, 2011.

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