Saturday, November 5, 2011

ATH Presents: 2012 3.8 R-spec...A love affair...


At times it can be a fantastic feeling. My lust for the Genesis coupe started back in 2007 when I started working as a Hyundai technician. It was a very exciting time for me.  I had just changed careers and was now working on the cars that I have known for quite sometime. However, there were rumors of a new RWD platform in the works. My mentor and close friend at the time, Jerry Lawson, would be off at training sessions in Miami at Hyundai's technical facility in Doral. He would come back with tidbits of information on this new platform and other cars that were in the works. What I really wanted was a RWD sports car and my obsession began. Fast forward to April of 2009. I had switched dealerships trying to find work. I was now in a small dealership in Vero Beach, FL and on one bright sunny afternoon, there it was...the object of my affection. A nordscheife gray coupe 2.0 turbo just came off the truck. It was gorgeous! It was everything that I had imagined it would be. Seeing pictures of it just did not do it any justice. I asked my manager if  I could do the pre-delivery inspection (PDI) on the car and knowing my obsession with it, he agreed. On one stipulation, absolutely NOTHING happened to the car while on my test drive. I agreed. I looked over the car with hungry eyes. Completing the PDI, it was time for a test drive. I was in heaven.


The R-spec is a trim level that Hyundai designates as their race edition. The car comes with all of the hardware from the Track edition but without the frills. There is no cruise control, no moonroof, not even a wing and some other fluffy comforts are taken away. The result is a vehicle that weighs 76lbs lighter and a price tag that was lighter on the wallet. This was only available on the 2.0 turbo, until 2010 when Hyundai released a 3.8 v6 edition. Even more cuts were made to the car. So now you could get into a 3.8 Genesis coupe for just under 27k. Doesn't sound like a bad deal. right? You get the big Brembo brakes, a torsen limited slip differential, and larger 19 inch wheels with summer compound tires.

All of the go fast parts are there and to be used at your will. Then this year Hyundai surprised us again with the R-spec Genesis sedan. This car gives you a 5.0 GDI V8 putting down 429hp and 376 ft/lbs of torque. It also gives you larger 19 inch wheels specific to the R-spec. Colors are also limited on the R-spec sedan, just as they are with the coupe. One thing though, it adds weight, presumably from the larger motor. How come the R-spec coupes do not give you more power? Are there other R-specs in the works? Maybe, with the Veloster Turbo to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and the Elantra coupe to debut at the L.A. Auto show, I'm sure anything is possible. On the other hand though, I want the options AND the go fast parts. I'm a firm believe that weight savings starts with the driver!

Finally...time alone.

I picked up my Interagos yellow 3.8 R-spec from the dealership and was ready to drive off into the sunset. That is if I could get out of the parking lot. I must have stalled it at least three times, how embarrassing. The clutch is heavy and very un-Hyundai like. Reverse does not have a lock out, but a pressure gate. It is left and up. You also get a little "Ding" when putting the car into reverse. I finally made it out of the parking lot and onto the main roads. For me, this is BIG car. Its almost a eight inches wider and longer then my Elantra. So needless to say I was being extra cautious. My initial impressions were that the car had quite a stiff, almost harsh ride. The steering was quick and accurate for the most part, though my tester did not want to center itself. The motor is powerful and will move the car very nicely. The interior is not that shabby with well placed controls, comfortable well bolstered seats and a good driving position.(the R-spec comes with red inserts and red leather on the doors) It's a nice place to be, even with all of the hard monotone plastics. The dash pad itself was soft touch, but not much else. The transmission is notchy and vague at times. I found that downshifting from 5th gear a little difficult. It would feel like it was being held up and would not move. I also found reverse to be slightly annoying. I was at a stop light putting in my flash drive into the center console usb port, when the light went green. I went to throw it into first gear, but instead I went into reverse, pulled it out, and went into reverse AGAIN! Getting honked and yelled at by a middle aged woman biker on her harley is not cool.

The sum of all of it's parts...

It all looks so good. Literally, its a gorgeous car, but like the hot girl that you have always wanted, it comes at a price. The 3.8 liter v6 is thirsty! I averaged about 22mpg. Now granted I'm coming from econoboxes where anything less then 27 mpg is unacceptable. I just could not afford to put gas in this car as much as I drive in a week. The act of driving is quite impeded by the overly granny'd Traction Control System (TCS or ESC). I made the mistake of leaving the TCS on while trying to test acceleration. My head jerked quite bad when I made the 1st to 2nd gear shift. The car literally falls flat on its face and then a second or two later will start to accelerate again. 2nd to 3rd was the same way. This was ridiculous. It was a bright sunny day here in Florida, there was no need for it to kick in the way it did. Next time, with the TCS off, it was much better a nice chirp came from the rear tires when shifting into 2nd gear, but 3rd gear still fell short and would not keep with the same intensity that the first two gears did. How disappointing. I think the electronics of this car really take away from the experience. I could only imagine if this had a cable instead of an electric throttle body. Maybe that is where the guys at Poweraxel or Seoulful racing come into play.  Maybe it just needs to be programmed correctly.

My love affair... member
I can see and feel the allure of the coupe. The looks you get in this car are quite nice, even after being out for three years peoples head's still turn. Maybe it was the extremely bright yellow. I even had a guy pull up in an S2000 and told me that he wanted to trade up, but sadly his wife won't let him. Yet another older guy in his HHR gave me a fist pump while in traffic. The adoring looks from young and middle aged women alike were nice, but sadly they weren't looking at me. It was the car. Regardless it made me feel good for the moment. In OEM form this car is very visually pleasing, but some of the guys over at have done some amazing things with aftermarket parts. Between the stance, wheel choices, and aero parts some of the coupes are down right sexy. Most even have the power the back up the looks. I would love to drive a coupe with aftermarket goodies bolted onto it. At the end of the day though my love affair was over. member
How could it be? This was supposed to be THE car, but sadly its not for me. Its not even the really stiff ride, or how big it is. The notchy shifter I could probably live with, but man the accleration as good as it might be, it could be more linear and less jerky. Most people will say it pays to play, well I guess I'm not willing to pay for it. Having a 6 year old to tote around to hip hop and theater classes. the lack of backseat room made the front passenger very uncomfortable. If he was older and did not need the car seat then maybe, but that is going to be a year or so from now. I'm then reminded that the refreshed Genesis coupe is debuting at the NAIAS and with this leaked brochure photo...Well lets just say that I found out that the beautiful girl of my dreams has an STD. That is alot different then just having some annoying habits. (though some including Hyundai say its a Photoshop...if it is, its pretty damn close...I think its a case of CYA!)

A1A south between Melbourne and Sebastian
Even with the updated power (2.0 Turbo which is rated at 210 hp now is going to get a good bump in power. I'm suspecting the 2.0 GDI turbo from the sonata will be retooled to fit into the coupe, it has 274 hp. The current 3.8 v6 is more then likely going to get the 3.8 GDI from the Sedan, though traditionally the power output for the coupe is MORE then what the sedan sees. So the GDI motor is putting down 333hp we should see that number bump up to about 350ish?) I think it is time to find a new infatuation. Perhaps it's not the right place or time. What if I had tested it on MY roads back in PA would I have found the true prowess of the coupe. Maybe my flat Florida roads are just not appropriate for this car.

Another time another place...

One of many PA backroads...Near Bangor, PA


  1. It's hard not to love the look of this car, and good to know it's not quite what it seems. Hopefully, Hyundai will keep working towards perfection. There is a customer where I work who traded her Mini Cooper in for the manual GenCoupe- not R-spec- because she got tired of having to take the Mini down to S Florida for every maintenance/repair issue. They won't let you take it anywhere but to a dealer w/o voiding the warranty. Loves her Genesis, except for the back seat, since she takes care of her grandchild sometimes.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Yeah I posted up over at the Hyundai Think Tank with some of the complaints that I had along with some from the guys/gals. I really do hope that Hyundai takes it seriously. I know we all do!


  4. Yeah my relationship was severed after this article. We will just call it a difference of creative expression. I agree, there are some things that I absolutely LOVE about this car and others that are no so great. If anybody ever had a question about it, by all means post up and ask. If I were single and had the cash flow, I could see myself getting into one, but from my perspective its just not the car for me at the time. Which is a shame because I thought it was the one. I did however drive two coupes, both 2.0t's that I would LOVE to own! Those are coming up in future installments! Thanks for reading. I'll try to keep it up.