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2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe was new.


Performance: 7.0

Test drivers report that the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is fast, but just not as quick as some key rivals. And while most agree that they like the Genesis Coupe’s accurate steering and strong brakes, this affordable sports car falls short with a numb shifter and handling that trails competitors like the Mazda Miata and the Nissan 370Z.

  • "All Genesis Coupes are nimble and well-balanced, with good grip and minimal body lean in turns." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The Mazdaspeed3, Subaru Impreza WRX and six-cylinder versions of the Mustang and Camaro have more to brag about under the hood." -- Cars.com 
  • "Under heavy throttle, it almost sounds like a V8 -- making the Genesis Coupe an interesting challenger to the new pony cars from Detroit." -- MSN 

Acceleration and Power

The base 2012 Genesis Coupe 2.0T features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 210 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 223 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. However, the more powerful Genesis Coupe 3.8 comes equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that generates 306 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. According to Hyundai, the Genesis Coupe 3.8 can blast from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. Reviewers say that the Genesis Coupe makes good power with either engine, but it still doesn’t seem like enough to keep up with rivals like the Ford Mustang and Nissan 370Z. Additionally, nearly all agree that stick-shift models have a vague, rubbery shifter that lacks feel.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all models and trims, though a five-speed automatic transmission is optional for the 2.0T, while 3.8 models get an available six-speed automatic. Both models get steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters with the automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T gets 21/30 mpg and 20/30 mpg city/highway with manual and automatic transmissions, respectively. The Genesis Coupe 3.8 manual gets 17/26 mpg city/highway, while automatic 3.8 models get 17 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. 

  • "Less quick than rivals." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Four-cylinder models are reasonably gutsy, despite noticeable turbo lag. The V6 is stronger all-around, but some testers believe it doesn't seem as eager as the powertrains in some sporty coupe rivals." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Both engines pair with a six-speed manual transmission. With a name like R-Spec, a manual transmission is the only way to go. The shifter needs improvement, though; its rubbery, vague feeling doesn't inspire confidence during quick gear changes." -- Cars.com 
  • "Driven energetically, the 3.8-liter V6 engine was impressive throughout the rev range, but really picks up past 4000 rpm, and is smooth enough that you're happy to be in the right gear at any time." -- MSN 
  • "The V-6 is very alert and quickly responds to pedal pressure. The zero-to-60 claim is 5.7 seconds, fast enough to lead rather than follow." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "The 2.0T is tuned for lots of muscle in the low-rpm, daily-driving range, but it runs out of thrust quickly as the tach climbs past 4000 rpm." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Critics agree that strong brakes and communicative steering are among the 2012 Genesis Coupe’s attributes. However, they’re divided on how the car corners. Some reviewers comment that the Genesis Coupe strikes a nice balance between comfort and agility, while others say that it doesn’t handle as well as higher-ranking affordable sports cars. If you like the Genesis Coupe and want the best-handling model possible, consider either the R-Spec or Track trim, which feature stiffer front and rear springs for better cornering ability.

  • "The steering is communicative and direct, but its turning radius is a bit wide for the class. Brakes are strong, smooth, and progressive. Track models have more aggressive suspension tuning and brakes, which further minimize body lean and increase stopping power. Despite all this, however, some testers feel that the Genesis Coupe is not as sporty as it looks." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "I would gladly sacrifice some of the R-Spec's ride quality for a more refined handling experience." -- Cars.com 
  • "The suspension is also impressive, but not up to true sports car stature." -- MSN 
  • "When the pace quickens, the Hyundai displays modest roll and understeer, but its instinct to stay flat inspires confidence when exploring the limits." -- Motor Trend
  • "Usually ride is sacrificed for handling, but this coupe provided jostle-free motoring even over a series of exaggerated tar marks left by highway workers who obviously didn't want to come back and fill the cracks again next year." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "Hyundai aces one of the critical tests: steering feel. Cornering forces load the wheel naturally, bumps twitch it, and a ratio tuned for snap-to quickness sharpens your aim." -- Car and Driver

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