2008 Detroit Auto Show: 2009 Hyundai Genesis

  • Competes with: Pontiac G8, Chrysler 300C, Lexus GS
  • Looks like: Most Japanese luxury sedans, but no logo on the grille so you won’t know you’re driving a Hyundai
  • Drivetrain: 3.3-liter V-6 268 hp, 3.8-liter V-6 290 hp, 4.6-liter V-8 368 hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Summer 2008

After seeing a nearly finished concept in New York last year, the final production version of the Hyundai Genesis sedan shouldn’t be a big surprise. However, Hyundai has plenty of surprises for us when it comes to details about the company’s attempt to move upmarket.

The starting price for a V-6 Genesis will be less than $30,000 but, of course, Hyundai is mum on pricing for the top-of-the-line V-8 model, which will pump out a whopping 368 horsepower and 324 pounds-feet of torque — on regular gas, no less. That puts a whomping on most of the competition in this class in terms of power.

The V-6s don’t sound like slouches either, with two to choose from producing either 268 or 290 hp. All three engines come with six-speed automatic transmissions.

Hyundai is comparing the Genesis with every luxury make on the market — including Acura, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes — but seeing these early interior photos, we think the Genesis will really compete with the Pontiac G8s and Chrysler 300Cs of the world in terms of interior feel.

Still, there is a lot jam-packed into the Genesis. On the safety side, there are eight airbags, including front- and rear-seat-mounted side airbags, which is not the norm. The Genesis’ electronic active head restraint system is also a Hyundai first. Antilock brakes and stability control come standard.

There are also a number of amenities Hyundai has listed for the Genesis, but it’s not yet saying whether they’re standard or optional. We’ll post more info when we get a full options list. For now, check out the photos below and feel free to weigh in on whether Hyundai is smart to target luxury nameplates when it’s competing on a different level.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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