No, not the best looking, nor best driving. Hell, it’s not even the best value, but this is the best affordable sportscar for the North American market right now. Plain and simple. Naturally, I’m going to have to explain this bold evaluation, and it might have some FR-S/BRZ enthusiasts up in arms. But the Genesis Coupe 3.8 is better for North America, and I’ll tell you why.
Forgetting that questionable fish-faced front end, the Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track comes with shiny wheels, eye-catching red Brembo brakes, a sleek set of body lines, a sharp spoiler, the best set of taillights you’re ever going to see and a very angular set of exhaust tips. So much to look at, and it’s all so pretty. The pearl black paint also set off some pretty lovely angles when it was in the right light.
Inside, the Genesis is stocked top-to-bottom with amenities. The car is loaded up with no-fuss touchscreen navigation, a so-easy-a-caveman-can-do-it set of knobs and dials, and leather and quality materials aplenty. You really get what you pay for with this one.
As mentioned, the seats are leather — and no, just because it’s a sportscar doesn’t mean you absolutely must have Recaros. They’re snug, but not overly snug. It’s a nice place to drive from, and as a passenger, a nice place to sit.
An Intoxicating V6
Lighter is always better, and that’s a fact. As we learned in cars like the FR-S and the BRZ, the 2.0-liter boxer engine is a sportscar enthusiast’s dream. But let’s be real for a second -– as car buyers, North Americans are a shallow bunch. A bone-dry 4-cylinder sportscar isn’t really getting the majority of buyers to line up at the door. So, in many people’s minds, a hefty 348-hp V6 really packs the heat in an affordable sportscar.
Driving was great. It really was. It wasn’t superb or fantastic or some other lofty adjective — it was just better than average. I was handed one with an automatic transmission. I know, sacrilegious. But unlike most sportscars where you can opt for a standard M/T or standard A/T, in the Genesis, Hyundai introduced a new 8-speed automatic transmission which in turn sends a decent-enough 18/28 mpg. And other than the fact it was a bit jumpy at low speeds, it was ok.
Power from the V6 was intoxicating (…thus the introduction). Unlike the Mustang or the 370Z, it felt more composed around corners- and despite being the heaviest of the three- felt the lightest. Again though, the BRZ and FR-S surpass the Genesis in this aspect of drivability.
The Verdict: 91%
So back to my initial claim — the best affordable sportscar in the country. I stand by it. Because when you look into the realm of two-door, relatively affordable sportscars currently available in the market, you get the FR-S, BRZ, 370Z, MX-5, Mustang, Camaro and Challenger. Maybe one or two in-between. Off the bat, we can essentially ditch the last thre and categorize them as “American muscle,” the FR-S and the BRZ are identical in every sense of the word, and the 370Z is a sad disappointment to Z car enthusiasts everywhere.
So, where does that leave the Genesis? Well, if we’re talking about the best handling/driving sportscar currently available; we’d say go for the FR-S/BRZ. Hands down.
In the looks department, they all come in somewhere at “sporty enough,” but not overly glorious. And as far as price (if you opt for the 2.0T), they’re all about the same.
But here’s the catch: aside from the 370Z- which will have you Zzzzzz-ing all the way home after you drop $38K in the top end, the Genesis is the only “affordable” sportscar in the country available with a V6, muscle cars excluded.
And alongside this throaty V6, the average American car buyer has a thirst for refinement, and none of the less-power 4-cylinder sportscars bring enough stitched leather or touchscreen navigation systems to quench that thirst. You see, what makes it worse as a sportscar — luxuries, and a heavy V6 — makes it a better buy for the North American market, in terms of affordable sportscars.
So, the best affordable sportscar in the country. End of story. Insert angry comments below.
Also, puppies love it.
Photo Credit: Jeff Perez for BoldRide