Our Ã¢â‚¬Å“DrivenÃ¢â‚¬Â series highlights the several cars I was able to sample at IMPAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Spring Brake 2009 event. These short takes are summaries of my driving impressions of the cars on the roads surrounding Bear Mountain State Park in Rockland County, New York.
The Genesis Coupe was on the short list of cars Gary wanted me to drive at this event, and it wasn’t until late in the afternoon I finally got my chance. From the first time I ever saw the Genesis Coupe I was taken by the car’s handsome looks-at a glance it could be easily confused with an Infiniti G37 Coupe.
The Grand Touring model I drove had all the bells and whistles, yet still rings in at an impressive $29,000USD. The turbocharged four cylinder Genesis starts around $22,000, but the base 3.8 pumping out 306 hp can be had for an unbelievable $26,500. For the record, the Infiniti G37 starts at $35,900.
Inside, the Genesis has a pleasant, close-coupled cockpit ambience, but never feels cramped. It certainly felt sporty and inviting, but it is here where Hyundai and Infiniti become miles apart. That’s not a mark against the Genesis in any way, but rather a reminder you’re in a sub-$30,000 sports coupe.
The Genesis V-6 starts with a nice rumble, but my drive was let down by the fact the test car was an automatic, and not a very sporting one, I should add. So equipped, you do have paddle shifters at the ready, but this very conventional six-speed automatic did nothing to enhance the sporting nature of the car. I drove an automatic 370Z earlier, but in that car I never felt like the driving experience was as “watered down” as the Genesis felt.
The Genesis has everything going for it-looks, a comfortable interior, good acceleration, braking and handling. Apart from the automatic, I don’t have anything negative to say about the car, but there was nothing that blew my socks off either. It’s the one aspect I’ve been struggling with since I got out of the car. The looks draw instant comparisons to the pricier Infiniti G37, but the interior feels much richer, the car feels more sophisticated. Moving closer to the Genesis’ price, the Ford Mustang GT comes to mind. Here, the Genesis feels more modern, but the Mustang has history, romance, and so much more charisma.
It really comes down to what your personal tastes are-cars like the Genesis Coupe are emotional buys, plain and simple. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable that Hyundai could have conceived a car such as this, and the fact it is nearly vice-free speaks volumes about the work that went into building it. I will say this-of all the cars I drove that day, the Genesis Coupe is the only car I drove where a stranger came up and started asking questions about what I was driving.