The archetypal luxury vehicle is no more. Hyundai are to herald in a marvel of engineering at Detroit - bringing the characteristics of a $60,000 premium sedan to forecourts wearing a price tag of only $30,000. First seen in concept guise at 2007's New York Auto Show and revealed to Korean press in production form only last month, Hyundai's all-new flagship Genesis will make its international debut on January 13th at the North American International Automobile Show.
Throwing a spanner in the works of the luxury segment with their aspirational all-new, rear-wheel-drive Genesis, Hyundai have engineered their new sedan on benchmarks such as the Mercedes E-Class, Infiniti M and Lexus GS. The new model "provides a potent combination of performance, luxury and value," says John Krafcik, VP of product development and strategic planning at Hyundai Motor America.
A PERFORMANCE-LED DRIVETRAIN
Performance-driven, the new Genesis employs a number of technologies for optimum road-holding and handling. The move of drive to the rear wheels, an RWD setup being a first for US-bound Hyundais, achieves improved handling and steering performance. Further enhancing these characteristics is the excellent 53/47 front-to-rear weight distribution. A lighter, stiffer body allows for improvements in ride and handling, while reducing noise levels.
Another first for the US is the inclusion of a V8, more specifically the all-new V8 'Tau' engine, in Hyundai's American model range. And it's a first for Hyundai too, the first V8 to be designed fully in-house by the Korean firm. Developing an estimated 368 hp from its 4.6-litre displacement, the new V8 unit will satisfy demanding performance-oriented consumers, offering more power per litre than any of its V8 competitors.
For those after only six cylinders, two V6 options are available. Delivering an estimated 268 hp and 233 lb.-ft of torque in 3.3-litre guise and 290 hp and torque of 264 lb.-ft. with 3.8-litres, both engines offer 'spirited performance'. CVVT maximises power spread, while a new system dubbed 'VIS' aids cylinder efficiency at low and high RPMs for 'outstanding off-the-line and passing' acceleration.
Two transmissions are linked to these V6 and V8 units. Both V6 engines are mated to 6-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmissions, smooth shifting and suited to each engine's characteristics. A 'tall-overdrive' sixth gear allows for quieter and more fuel efficient highway cruising, while in SHIFTRONIC mode, gear change requires only a nudge forward or rearward of the selector. A high-output six-speed ZF transmission deals with the higher power Tau V8 unit.
Featuring a suspension design touted as among 'the most sophisticated and refined' on the market, front five-link suspension, for improved responsiveness and reduced steering wheel kickback, and a five-link independent rear set-up, for a premium ride and engaging handling, is technology used in the luxury models the Genesis is gunning for. Combined with Selective Dampers for smaller damper displacements, ride comfort is improved without compromising on body and wheel control.
Progression in design is how Hyundai describe the new Genesis, the designers re-interpreting the concept of a rear-drive sports sedan. Drawing largely on the 2006 concept car's design, the production model features strong lines and the precision of a car sculpted to conform to and yet simultaneously reform the premium segment.
A CABIN THAT EXUDES LUXURY
Adorned by features found in flagship European and Asian brands, this is Hyundai's most advanced vehicle ever. But key to this new concept is pricing accessibility. Standard features include a woodgrain-accentuated soft-touch instrument panel, bluetooth hands-free system and USB/iPod inputs.
On a par with Rolls-Royce and their Phantom, the Genesis is only the second vehicle to feature a state-of-the-art LOGIC 7 audio system on an options list. With HD Radio, 7.1 surround sound, 17 speakers and 500 watts of sound, state-of-the-art is a phrase not to be taken lightly. Another 'state-of-the-art' option is the Genesis' navigation system, mated to an eight-inch display that also doubles up as display to the car's in-built parking aid, its rear camera.
From luxury to safety, the Genesis is well-equipped. Featuring eight airbags, a smart cruise control system that adjusts vehicle speed according to distance from the car ahead, and electronic active front head restraints proved to help prevent whiplash, these are just some of the technologies affirming Hyundai's emphasis on delivering leading safety technology.
With investment high in the development of the new sedan and its new rear-wheel-drive architecture, further RWD products in other segments are a given. The next to surface will be a Genesis Coupe model, the concept version of which was shown at the LA Show late last year. The new Genesis sedan will enter US showrooms in Summer this year - as a $60,000 model for 2009 - but priced from $30,000. Read the press release below for all the details.