2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec
by John Davis
For almost 30 years, as the mid-Atlantic weather turns icy and cold, MotorWeek has ventured south to Savannah Georgia’s Roebling Road Raceway for a week of winter, and supposedly warmer, car testing. Never, in all that time, has there been a Korean car we felt was worthy of challenging Roebling’s nine high speed turns. Now, there is one, the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec.
While visually not much different from the rear-drive V6 Genesis Coupe MotorWeek tested in 2009, the new 3.8 R-Spec is clearly aimed at the weekend racer. No wacky graphics, racing stripes, or even a rear spoiler! The only things setting the 3.8 R-Spec apart from the original car are a trunk mounted badge, and 19-inch gunmetal alloy wheels wearing summer compound tires.
Inside, changes include softer touch materials and standard Bluetooth. But to reduce weight, a few conveniences, including cruise control, were left in the pits. Front seats are a mix of red cloth and black leather with plenty of bolstering to keep the driver in place during fast cornering.
There is also little change under the hood where the same all aluminum 3.8-liter V6 resides, pumping out 306-horsepower.That’s a 45% bump in output over the four-cylinder 210-horsepower 2.0T R-Spec. Gear selection for the 3.8 R-Spec comes by way of a 6-speed manual. There is no automatic transmission available.
When we hit the track, the 3.8 V6 provided even more power than we were expecting. There was a surprising amount of torque coming out of corners. The standard electronic stability control system is extremely intrusive and there’s no “track” mode, so you’ll have to turn it off if you want to get around the track with serious speed.
But what truly makes the R-Spec special is the heavily revised suspension. Updates include higher rate springs, stiffer shocks, and thicker stabilizer bars front and rear, as well as an easily adjustable front camber setup. There’s even a limited slip differential.
All of this makes the 3.8 R-Spec feel small and nimble out on the track. Still, transitions were a bit abrupt, and we even experienced a bit of bumpsteer. Sure, all of those suspension tweaks make things a bit rougher on the street, but not nearly stiff enough to hinder your daily commute. Brakes have been upgraded as well, to four piston Brembos front and rear. They provided good feedback as well as good initial bite, and we noticed no fade.
Hyundai’s current high flying reputation comes from building affordable cars with great value and quality. With the arrival of the Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec, we can add impressive performance to their list of accolades as well. For more on the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Sec, be sure to catch MotorWeek’s Road Test on episode #3026 which begins airing on public television stations March 5, 2011. MotorWeek is broadcast on PBS television stations nationwide, and on HD Theater where high definition cable and satellite service is available.