2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec review: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec

Cabin tech: What you get and what you don't
The R-Spec trim level is defined as much by what creature comforts you don't get as by the go-faster additions that you do. You'll find no cruise control buttons on the Coupe's steering wheel and the exterior rearview mirrors lose their heating elements and turn-signal indicators. The Track trim level's Xenon HID headlamps don't make the cut and neither does its proximity keyless entry with push-button start. While you're at it, go ahead and forget about navigation tech, a sunroof, Infinity premium audio, or power-adjustable heated seats. The manually adjusting leather buckets get red fabric inserts, as do a few other dash and door panels, but that's the extent of the R-Spec's luxury appointments.

However, as stripper models go, the Genesis Coupe R-Spec is still pretty well-equipped.

Hyundai's standard Bluetooth connectivity suite is present, with A2DP stereo audio streaming and hands-free calling with voice command and address book sync. Simply hit the voice command button and tell the system who you want to call, and the Genesis Coupe will handle the rest. However, when pulling entries from our test HTC ThunderBolt Android phone, the voice command system inverted the first and last names of the entries, meaning that we had to awkwardly say, "Call Goodwin Antuan at work" rather than the more natural "Antuan Goodwin." Editor Wayne Cunningham has reported a similar issue when testing other Hyundai vehicles with an iPhone. Whether you'll have this problem or not depends on how your particular paired phone stores and reports its entries.

Bluetooth A2DP meant that we were able to use our smartphone for most cabin tech functions, leaving the Coupe displaying this default streaming message.

Audio sources piped through the R-Spec's standard six-speaker audio system include a single-disc CD/MP3 player, AM/FM terrestrial radio, XM Satellite Radio, analog auxiliary audio input, and a USB port with MP3 playback capability. If you want to connect your iPod or iPhone to the audio system, you'll need to spring for the optional Hyundai iPod dock connector cable, which bridges the Coupe's USB and analog inputs to offer total control of the iPod's file system. It's a $35 option, but it's worth every penny.

By tech car standards, the R-Spec is sparsely equipped. But by track car standards, it's got everything you need and nothing you don't. Add a Bluetooth-connected smartphone running a navigation application and the Genesis Coupe R-Spec's technology will easily rival about any OEM technology package on the road today.

Standard USB connectivity in a stripped-down performance model? Are we living in the future?

The R-Spec options are even limited where color choice is concerned. You can only get the R-Spec in one of four colors, while the other trim levels offer seven. Our vehicle looked great in Bathurst Black--which does a good job of hiding the odd shape that the Coupe's lower grill makes--but we've also got a soft spot for the R-Spec exclusive Interlagos Yellow.

In sum
We started testing the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec with the Nissan 370Z's Sport package as our benchmark. The Z is more powerful and more refined--particularly in the transmission department--and its shorter wheelbase means that the Z's suspension doesn't need to be tuned as harshly as the Genesis. The Z is better appointed, too. However, those looking for near-Z levels of performance on a budget will be pleased with Genesis' $26,750 MSRP. That's $4,700 less than the Z's starting price and $7,730 less than the comparably equipped 370Z Sport trim. The Z's good, but is it $7,730 better? We're not so sure, especially when you consider that even the Genesis R-Spec beats the Z's standard tech complement.

Our 3.8 R-Spec also included the $35 iPod cable, a $50 cargo net, $105 floor mats, and an $850 destination charge, bringing our as-tested price to $27,790. At that price point, we're thinking that there may be another competitor with which the Genesis Coupe may be better matched: the 31-mpg, 305-horsepower Ford Mustang V-6 Premium with its Performance package for $29,100. The Genesis is likely the better performer, but the extra 5 mpg offered by the Ford might make us feel better about losing that race.

The R-Spec isn't just a low-cost alternative to better sports cars; it's a contender in its own right.

Tech specs
Model 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8
Trim R-Spec
Power train 3.8-liter V-6, six-speed manual, RWD
EPA fuel economy 17 city, 26 highway mpg
Observed fuel economy 22.3 mpg
Navigation n/a
Bluetooth phone support Basic voice command, phonebook sync
Disc player CD/ MP3
MP3 player support Analog 3.5mm auxiliary input, USB/iPod connection
Other digital audio Standard XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth stereo streaming
Audio system Six-speaker standard
Driver aids n/a
Base price $26,750
Price as tested $26,940

What you'll pay

Editors' Top PicksSee All


Discuss: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec

Conversation powered by Livefyre