Welcome to Pop The Hood, a weekly autoMedia.com feature that examines the industry’s latest innovations and what makes them tick. Recently, we’ve poked around inside the SRT Viper, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and Porsche 918 Spyder (full list below). Today let’s examine a rising star ready for the spotlight: the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec.
Without question, the Scion FR-S has been the most hyped vehicle in the entire industry this year. We’re big fans of it here, too, with an in-depth look with the very first Pop The Hood and a guide on how to have fun with the car on a camping trip.
But the FR-S isn’t the first of its kind – plenty of fun, affordable sports coupes have come before it, and they deserve recognition, too. Most notable is the Mazda MX-5, but another competent challenger is the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec (read our test drive here), improved for the new model year so much that it competes with both affordable and luxury sports cars. The 2013 Genesis Coupe R-Spec is full of innovations, but just how good is it? Let’s take a look.
This model years marks the first year that the Genesis Coupe gets Hyundai’s new Lambda engine, an all-aluminum V6 fitted with both gasoline direct injection (GDI) and dual continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) to make better use of fuel.
The result is a 14-percent increase in power and 11-percent increase in available torque. The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec offers 348 horsepower (at 6,400rpm) and 295 lb.-ft of torque (at 5,300), certainly impressive numbers for an automaker that only recently began to take performance seriously.
Those numbers catapult the R-Spec out of the realm of the FR-S and MX-5, and into deeper waters – but the Hyundai still handles itself well in a more competitive environment. In fact, it’s more powerful than both the Infiniti G37 (330 hp) and BMW 335i (300 hp), and is much lighter than either of them, too.
That said, this is where some of the cracks in the R-Spec armor begin to come to light. When you move up a weight class, customers expect the total package. The Infiniti and BMW are both extremely refined and effortless – we outlined the virtues of the 335i in an earlier edition of PTH. The thing that stood out then, and is a huge advantage here, is efficiency. The Genesis R-Spec earns a respectable 18/27mpg, but the 335i returns 19/28. And even though it doesn’t have as much maximum power, the 335i has its power available much earlier in the revs, with peak torque hitting at just 1,200rpm compared to the high-revving Hyundai. This isn’t a knockout blow for the Genesis R-Spec, but it is a wake-up call that it has entered a new level. After all, who would have thought five years ago that we’d be directly comparing a Hyundai with a BMW? With great horsepower comes great responsibility.
In the end, the Genesis R-Spec is a fun car built to excite for under $30,000, and that’s great – we certainly could use more cars like that. The R-Spec and R-Spec Track models are fitted with 13.4” front brakes and 13.0” in the rear. Hyundai installed a deeper dual cat-back exhaust and intake sound induction pipe for 2013, so the sound is improved along with the performance. Stability and traction control are standard, but you can turn all safety precautions off for maximum fun. We also love that a six-speed manual is mandatory, and Torsen limited slip differential is optional. If that sounds like your kind of party, you’ll also enjoy 0-60mph runs in the low five-second range and a top speed of 149 mph.
Hyundai has put together a great package for customers looking to enjoy their driving experience, and at this rate, it’s going to be fun to see what they can come up with next.
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