EXPERT REVIEW

The Detroit Newspapers's view


Double the fudge, add nuts, bananas, sprinkles and broken cookie bits to that sundae, and you just might end up with too much of a good thing.

It’s the same with cars.

When I first test drove the Hyundai Genesis coupe, I loved it. (I liked it so much, I was gushing when a Nevada patrolman used his flashing lights to pull me over and lecture me about how fast the new Genesis coupe could go.) It’s a sleek, sexy and quick little sports car that is affordable, fun and well built.

With a starting price of $22,750, you can get on the road and still have a few dollars left in your pocket for some sprinkles, and the 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is fantastic. There’s that little whine of the turbo whenever it kicks in and that extra surge of exhaust-fed adrenalin when you cut around a corner.

Recently, I spent a few days in the V-6 version of the Genesis coupe. This was a test of daily living with a 2+2 sports coupe. The bigger engine brings a lot more power to the rear wheels — nearly 100 more horses. (The 2-liter turbo generates 210 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.8-liter V-6 pumps out 306-horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.)

A closer look at those numbers shows that while the V-6 model has 94 more ponies, it only has 43 more pound-feet of torque — and torque is what you feel pushing you down the road.

And there are a few attributes with the more muscular V-6 Genesis I like. It feels more planted on the road despite both models weighing about the same (the manual V-6 tips the scales at 3,389 pounds, 100 more than the four-cylinder model. The slightly heavier automatics have only 35 pounds separating them).

Perhaps it was the upgraded track-tuned suspension that keeps the V-6 model so sure-footed. As I raced around southeastern Michigan, I kept finding myself driving faster and faster. This car loves to be pushed through tight corners. Its stiff body and sharply tuned suspension make for a slightly bumpy ride, but one that provides confidence behind the wheel.

The six-speed automatic ZF transmission was extremely smooth and quick. It anticipates your next move and flips through gears faster than you can say Genesis.

Leather, gadgets top notch And the interior is top notch as well, mixing leather and high-tech features into a tight package. Naturally, the second row seats seem more likely to carry briefcases than passengers, but in a jam you could fit someone back there. (There is just over 30 inches of legroom back there and trying to get in the back is a struggle.) The advantage to this: few people will ever ask you for a ride.

But on a sports car like this, few people have an expectation about carrying people in the back row.

For those riding up front, the Genesis coupe feels spacious and luxurious. There is 44 inches of legroom and lots of headroom because of the low-lying body. (This can make exiting the car a little precarious for those with creaky knees.)

Hyundai also adds lots of neat features you expect in more luxurious cars. The touch screen navigation system is easy to use. The proximity key (meaning you don’t have to pull the key fob out of your pocket to unlock the doors) with remote start lets you hop in and out of the car quickly. The 10-speaker Infinity audio system is clear and loud.

It has everything the modern man or woman could want wrapped up in a nice little package.

Most options are standard This car offers more than most people will ever need and things they didn’t even know they wanted. This is where all of the double dipping seems to add up: the price.

The V-6 Genesis 3.8 Track comes with nearly everything you can want. When you look through the car’s options, everything is standard. Brembo brakes, Xenon headlamps, power sunroof, everything — it’s all standard.

The only options you pay for are the $95 carpeted floor mats and the iPod cable.

But the starting price for this top-of-the-line Genesis coupe is $32,000 — nearly ten grand more than the base model four-cylinder.

That’s some awfully expensive sprinkles.

Consumers will have to decide if it’s worth the price for a car that is quite capable on a track or the open road. (And many will demand the V-6 as testament by a few I’ve seen on the road in Metro Detroit.)

However, I think the real value of the Genesis coupe starts and ends with the 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder model. The V-6, track ready model is certainly top shelf, but that doesn’t make it the best in the bunch.

Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much.

sburgess@detnews.com (313) 223-3217

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